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'We need our teachers:' schools praise pay raises for Virginia teachers

FILE: Thanks to Teachers: Brandi Cook (Credit: WLOS)
FILE: Thanks to Teachers: Brandi Cook (Credit: WLOS)
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Schools in Central Virginia and across the state are set to get a big chunk of money from the two-year state budget, which the Virginia General Assembly approved Wednesday.

It's been a tough couple of years for students and teachers following the COVID-19 pandemic, so school leaders said it means a lot that lawmakers are supporting them and working to get what they say is well-deserved funding.

The new budget includes a 5% raise for teachers and millions for renovations.

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Dr. Zebedee Talley, superintendent of Martinsville City Schools, said this is exactly what he wants to see from state lawmakers, especially after the pandemic.

"We need our teachers. Teachers are just the most important thing for our school division. This is a great boost for them, and I think it says to teachers everywhere, 'We appreciate you,'" Talley said.

Martinsville teachers will get even more money because the school system included a separate 5% raise, so Martinsville teachers will get a total of a 10% increase.

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Talley said this funding also comes at the perfect time, and there are several ways it will help local school districts.

"Put students in better buildings. To attract, since we are in a teacher shortage, and retain teachers because they are the cornerstone of what we do," Talley said.

The budget includes $1.25 billion for school modernization with $400 million of that chunk going to localities.

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A portion of the money is also set aside for school resource officers, to help with security following the recent mass shooting in Texas.

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