Governor Ralph Northam has announced his ‘Thank you, Virginia’ Tour, which includes making large promises of pay raises to teachers in a proposed budget that will in all likelihood not pass in anyway closely resembling its proposed form.

In his budget, Northam has proposed a 10% pay raise for K-12 teachers, more than $2.4 billion in total cost.

The Governor’s budget is the starting point for the General Assembly session which will begin in January. All spending must be approved by both legislatures before going back to the Governor’s desk for final passage, which will seat Republican Glenn Youngkin following the session in 2022. Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe for the top political job in Virginia in November, as did all Republicans in state wide races. Republicans also flipped the House of Delegates back to their control.

Governor Northam’s proposes a 5% percent increase in compensation a year in each of the next two budget years, for a cumulative increase of 10.25%. When matched by local funds, the increase will push compensation for the typical Virginia teacher above the national average.  

Governor Northam noted that local budgets have been significantly augmented by federal and state pandemic relief dollars. These funds include more than $1.3 billion of federal CARES Act dollars that Virginia allocated to localities in 2020, and another nearly $3 billion in federal ARPA funds (American Rescue Plan) for counties and cities in Virginia earlier this year.