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LCS teachers call on school board for higher pay

Lynchburg Education Association President Karl Loos addresses the school board over low teacher pay.

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Local teachers are speaking out against what they call not getting fair pay in Lynchburg City Schools.

Teachers voiced their concerns to school board members, stating that they make less in real dollars than they did 10 years ago.

They said they have adapted to new technologies, instructional methods and more safety issues than ever.

This comes as teachers in West Virginia were given a 5% raise after going on strike.

"This already challenging profession is already becoming more challenging, a fact borne out of the rising percentage of beginning teachers who leave the profession," said Lanaux Hailey, a veteran teacher.

Karl Loos, the president of the Lynchburg Education Association, said many employees in Lynchburg looked at the average pay of an employee in West Virginia and realized they were below that pay, not above it.

"I would hate to think that a revolution like that would need to take place here," Loos said, referencing the teacher strike.

He said the average teacher salary in Lynchburg is about $7,000.00 behind the state average and $15,000.00 behind the national average. Virginia ranks 30th on a 2016 National Education Association study on teacher salaries.

"In September of 2016, I addressed the issue that 40% of the teachers leaving the division were veterans with five or more years of experience. Little has changed," Loos added.

Teachers are calling Lynchburg City Schools to make raising their pay a priority.

"One hundred percent of our board wants teachers to be compensated fairly, and so do I, and we're going to work with the city council to do the very best we can with that," said Dr. Larry Massie, Interim Superintendent.

Local teacher organizations said they plan to also meet with city council on the issue.

They are also asking people to urge state senators to pass legislation that would increase teacher pay.

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