The Accomack County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to authorize the County Administrator Mike Mason to work with Northampton County to send a letter to the Governor requesting that both Accomack and Northampton Counties receive cost of competing adjustment or COCA funding to help the local school systems recruit and retain qualified teachers.
COCA funding is currently employed in eighteen divisions in Northern Virginia. The funding helps the Virginia counties compete with the Southern Maryland counties which lure teachers with higher salaries and better benefits.
The same situation occurs here on the Eastern Shore with Worcester County Maryland offering teachers higher salaries. A teacher with 10 years experience can earn $11,000 more in Pocomoke than teachers across the line in Accomack County.COCA funding would allow Accomack and Northampton to better compete with Worcester County. Worcester County includes Ocean City which greatly expands the tax base and allows for higher teacher compensation.
Supervisor Robert Crockett said that the Board sent a letter to Governor Northam last year requesting Accomack be considered to receive COCA funding but that the budget was in its second year of its two year cycle. Crockett said that the new budget cycle that starts this year along with joining Northampton County to request the designation puts the counties in a stronger position this time around and this would be the most effective first step.