Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - February 17, 2020 


44 Americans infected, but not all show signs of coronavirus illness; and many NC counties declare themselves 'Second Amendment sanctuaries.'

2020Talks - February 17, 2020 


Nevada's experiment with early caucusing is underway until tomorrow. Some candidates plus some Nevada Culinary Workers Union Local 226 members oppose Medicare for All, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders defends it, with a study just published making the case for it.

Teachers Praise Gov’s Ed Budget, But Find Raises Too Skimpy

Science teacher and current VEA President Meg Gruber says the governor's ed budget is good in a lot of ways, but needs to do more on teacher pay. (Virginia Beach Education Association)
Science teacher and current VEA President Meg Gruber says the governor's ed budget is good in a lot of ways, but needs to do more on teacher pay. (Virginia Beach Education Association)
December 18, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia teachers like the reinvestment Gov. Terry McAuliffe's budget makes in public education, but they say the governor did not do enough when it came to pay raises.

McAuliffe's just-announced budget would add $570 million to help schools and districts keep up with costs and hire 2,500 new teachers and aides.

Meg Gruber, president of the Virginia Education Association, said teachers hope this will mean changes - including "smaller class sizes, more programs that were cut coming back in" - after years of starving school funding.

"With all of the deep cuts that have been made to public education," she said, "now is the time to reinvest in our public schools."

But Gruber, a longtime high school science teacher, said the governor should have gone farther when it came to badly needed raises. McAuliffe's proposed budget includes no teacher pay raises in the first year and a 2 percent bump in the second year. That comes after pay being all but frozen over the last seven years.

Gruber said the small raise may not be enough to recruit the number and kind of new teachers Virginia needs. She said the state is losing too many smart educators because of cuts in pay and in-school programs.

"The number of teachers who are leaving the profession, looking at that and going, 'I can do something else for a living, even though I might want to teach,' " she said.

Since 2009, Virginia has cut per-student funding by more than 14 percent. Conservative lawmakers cited the need to reduce the budget as state revenues have fallen, but Gruber said that's gradually been undermining educational quality.

"There's a tremendous amount of stress on the public-school system and its employees," she said, "and we're looking, basically, to take the lid off that pressure cooker."

McAuliffe's budget will be debated when the General Assembly comes into session.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA