Augusta Teachers May See First Pay Raises in 4 Years
For the fifth consecutive year, Augusta County schools will likely have to work with a shrinking budget. But the superintendent says they still hope to carve out a salary hike in order to reward teachers and keep them in Augusta.
Augusta's teachers haven't seen a raise in the past four years - during which the school board has made $12 million worth of cuts.
The shortfall for the coming school year is expected to be roughly $2.3 million more, a big chunk of it from rising health insurance costs, but Augusta County School Board members hope to raise pay across the board and fix problems in the salary scale.
Inconsistent jumps in the scale mean teachers may gain less than $100 from year to year.
The General Assembly is considering a modest salary hike for all teachers but Augusta's superintendent, Chuck Bishop, says his division needs to do more.
"We also need to get our salaries to what we feel is a competitive level here regionally. We can't compete with the Loudoun Counties and the Fairfaxes of the world, but we certainly want to be able to compete with our neighbors - in easy traveling distance from Augusta County," Bishop said.
The state's proposed 3-percent raise is only for some teachers. Bishop says extending the hike to all of them would cost Augusta County about $750,000.
The school board is looking at a plan for a consistent salary scale that would take three years to gradually build.
Step one would require an average pay raise of about 4.25 percent.
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