‘We’re the ninth wealthiest state, but our teachers salaries rank 37′

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Petersburg Public Schools Superintendent wants to see teachers get a five percent pay raise.

Right now, Petersburg teachers average about $41,000, an amount well below the state average of $49,233.

It’s not just Petersburg teachers with salaries below state average.

A quick check of school systems in our area show some just above but most below the state average.

Both Prince George County and the City of Colonial Heights pay their teachers, on average $51,000.

Henrico County follows, with an average of $50,000.

The average salary for Richmond City and Chesterfield County teachers is $49,000.

Dinwiddie County falls in place at $48,000 and the City of Hopewell average teacher salary is $46,000.

What teachers say about it may surprise you.

A local teacher here in Central Virginia says she is making less now than when she started 14 years ago.

“I actually make less money currently then I did when I began teaching, not necessarily through salary base, but because our expenses have gone up so much,” Annie Mickens said.

“I pay more for health care and more for my pension”.

After 42 years, Mickens is retiring from the classroom in Petersburg and said that  “the issue becomes the more you work, the less you get paid and definitely the less you get to take home.”

She adds that if local and state leaders don’t begin to fund teachers better, then many will have to choose between a life in the classroom or providing financial stability for their family — and it’s the students she says who will ultimately lose.

In Virginia, the state average pay for teachers is $49,233 which is 15-percent below the national average of $56,689, a difference of nearly $7,400.

“We’re the ninth wealthiest state in the nation but our teacher salaries rank 37,” Robley Jones, with the Virginia Education Association says.

So we’re not putting ourselves in a competitive position to attract the best and the brightest teachers to Virginia classrooms.”

“The public knows that teacher quality is a factor of the quality of education, but what we are seeing is that the leadership in Virginia is not aligned with the public,” Jones says, adding that recent surveys show the public is behind better pay for teachers

Petersburg teachers will learn in April if their pay raise is approved by city council.

We will continue to follow this story.

12 comments

  • david

    maybe cause our teacher are there for the summers off and whining about money,off time on a constant basis.gimme a break.remember when teachers were average age of 50 and cared?now they are just 20 ywar old brats who need to pay back loans and have babies during the year instead of the summer.next

  • Glen Allen

    I looked at the Richmond Public Schools website, More specifically, the Human Resources page. According to the various teaching positions they have available, a teacher, on average, is a 91 day per year job. It looks like their salary ranges from $42,138 – $76,043, depending on how many years’ experience, and what type of a degree (undergrad –Doctorial). According to the website, teachers with 0-7 years’ experience start at Step 3, 8-9 years – Step 4, 10-13 years – Step 5, etc., So, it would only make sense that a lower average pay would mean younger teachers (less years’ experience).

    Therefore, you would have to include the average years of experience nationally, to make the comparison. Maybe our teachers are just less experienced than the national average.

  • Manalishi.

    Well put Glenn. But it’s petersburg. If the overall average of teachers pay was in lockstep with the graduation rate, these teachers would be paid far less. This is just like every other other democrat run town. Highest taxes and still completely dysfunctional.

    These teachers could aways apply next door to prince george, chesterfield, and colonial heights. It’s not like a transfer to california. Parent’s should ponder the mentality of why a teacher would stay in petersburg at all. It’s the same concept when we ask ourselves, why parents would ever allow their children to go to petersburg , hopewell or richmond schools?

  • Greg

    Any current or former teacher can attest to the fact that the worst kept secret in the world is that teachers do not make a lot of money. The “I’m unhappy with my wages club” membership roles are growing constantly. This is all just symptomatic of a failing government run enterprise. If education were privatized and a voucher system was introduced it would be to the benefit of everyone involved. But hey, why get to the root of our problems when we can always throw a little more taxpayer money around and quiet things down for a while as we are kicking the can down the road?

  • john Richmond

    Actually folks, salaries at many private schools are lower. Outcomes at many private schools also are lower. I can’t tell you the number of home-schooled and private school students who show up in my classroom whose skills are deficient compared with those of my public school students, which aren’t so great in the aggregate either. Privatizing education would just create more turnover and worse working conditions for teachers, which would translate eventually into worse outcomes for students. Fewer students would encounter that one inspiring teacher. Student test scores would be lower. There would be less continuity. Teachers would constantly be learning on the job. Also, Chesterfield doesn’t sound like such a high-paid or cushy place to work, either, just to pick on a school system. Their teachers, like the rest of us, have not had a raise and have actually taken pay cuts due to increased expenses, and have had drastically increased class sizes. They actually did it earlier and bigger than other school systems. My own pay has lost probably about 20% to inflation since I started. the only reason I’m close to my original salary is I’ve gone up a couple of salary steps during my time with the school system. This doesn’t matter to me so much because I’m cheap, or frugal, or something like that. I have three colleagues who have given birth in the last year and one who is supporting her husband through college. They’re the ones getting pinched. If you want to know where the money has gone, look at Robert Reich’s post on the average hourly wage of the top 10 hedge fund managers: $840,000. Redistributing that would give all of us about a 2% salary bump.

    • Manalishi.

      Pathetic democrat municipal arrogance. Maybe you would prefer to have to mammoth medial income drop that the public sector has had to deal with for the last 5 years. Or would you prefer to be unemployed by business or manufacturing closure only to end up with !/2 pay in the non-growth economy? Hows about a part time job replacement? Hows about losing your gravy healthcare plan like so many millions?

      Crybaby whining about 20% inflation eating your pay and benefits is a complete insult to those whose paychecks get pilfered enabling this stereotypical conceit. To make matter more petulant, you compare it to 10 hedge fund managers? Are these hedge fund managers paid by taxpayers? Would you be offended if your retirement was redistributed by an egomaniac?

      Cry me and every other taxpayer that struggles a river.

  • Glen Allen Dad

    Virginia may rank low on the teacher salary scale. However, teachers as a whole are not under paid compared to their equivalently skilled counterparts in the business world when you break down their salaries to an hourly wage *AND* factor in their benefits.

    In 2010 the Bureau of Labor Statistics published is US compensation study. It found that school teachers and administrators occupied 3 of the 6 highest hourly wages. When benefits were combined with the wages the study found that teachers (public and private) held the 2nd & 3rd highest compensation levels of all professions in the US.

    When you count in the intangible benefits of near bullet proof job security from termination or layoffs, the security that their “company” isn’t going to go under or get bought out, knowing that their job isn’t going to be outsourced overseas, and the very prominent fact that tenure & certifications are the primary drivers for salary increases (vs actual job performance in the corporate world), the compensation scales tip even further to the teacher’s favor.

    A good article on this can be found in Forbes magazine at
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2011/12/22/the-teacher-salary-myth-are-teachers-underpaid/
    This article also includes the BLS scale I mentioned earlier.

    Should Virginia localities increase their teachers salaries to move us up the national scale? Debatable. Are teachers as a whole underpaid? Absolutely not, but perpetuating the myth does provide a lot of “feel good” stories on the news and in the social scene.

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