Gov. Northam announces proposal for $268 million investment in K-12 education, teacher pay raise

Posted at 5:49 PM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-12 19:11:23-05

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that his proposed budget will feature $286.7 million in new money for investments in K-12 education in the Commonwealth.

STERLING, VA - NOVEMBER 03: Virginia Democratic candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, answers questions while campaigning at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society following Friday prayers November 3, 2017 in Sterling, Virginia. Virginia will elect the next governor of the state next Tuesday, November 7. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As part of his commitment to ensuring that Virginia is able to attract and keep educators, Northam announced the inclusion of an additional 2 percent raise in teacher salaries, totaling $88 million, that will result in a total 5 percent raise. This would be effective starting July 1, 2019.

“Every child in the Commonwealth should have access to a world-class education—that can’t happen if Virginia is unable to compete with other states on attracting and retaining the best teaching talent,” said Northam. “Raising teacher pay is one step to securing the quality of our K-12 education system for years to come.”

In addition to a raise in teacher pay, Northam also announced that his proposed budget will adjust funding to reflect an estimated increase of Virginia Lottery proceeds, allocating nearly $70 million to boost the At-Risk Add-On and Supplemental Lottery Per Pupil Allocation.

Related: Governor Northam announces 20 new jobs in the City of Norfolk 

The one-time influx will ad about $35 million to Virginia's At-Risk Add-On program, which targets state support to schools with the highest concentrations of students eligible for free lunch to provide dropout prevention, after school programs and specialized instruction. The remaining $35 million will go to boosting the state's per pupil allocation, a flexible funding pool available to local school divisions to supplement general aid.

Gov. Northam also said the proposed budget will include an $80 million one-time deposit in the Literary Fund, which will free up resources to be used for low-interest loans for school construction. The Literary Fund is the long-standing method for providing aid to local school divisions for school construction.

The governor will address the Joint Money Committees on December 18 to share the full details of his structurally balanced budget plan. The proposal features additional investments, as well as a plan to put Virginia on a path to committing 8 percent of its total budget in reserves by the end of his administration.