Bill introduced to mandate Virginia teacher pay above national average

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia delegate has proposed legislation that would mandate that teachers in Virginia are paid at or above the national average — which in practice would mean a pay raise for most across the commonwealth.

HB 1497, patroned by Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler, would amend a current Virginia law that established a “goal” of paying teachers above the national average, turning the recommendation into a mandate.

According to Salary.com, the average teacher pay in the United States is $55,873. The same site lists the average teachers salary in Virginia at $55,538 — just a few dollars less.

Virginia is nevertheless ranked as one of the worst states for teacher pay, primarily because the cost of living is much higher than in other low-paying states.

The bill would still likely have a large impact, because teacher pay in Virginia varies widely by locality. A 2017 report found that starting teacher salaries in Smyth County averaged just $32,300, while starting pay in wealthy Arlington County was $48,228 — a gap of over $15,000 a year.

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