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Even with potential pay raises, education group says Virginia teachers still don’t make enough money

Posted at 1:37 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 13:37:54-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Thursday he planned to fund a two percent pay increase for state workers and teachers in his latest budget proposal. If approved, the raises would impact paychecks in 2017. Governor McAuliffe will unveil his complete budget plan on December 17.

"Our state employees, professors, teachers and deputies are working hard to help build a new Virginia economy, and we are pleased to recognize their contributions with a well-deserved pay increase that will benefit thousands of Virginia families and their communities," the governor said during his Ask the Governor radio show on WRVA in Richmond. He announced that the Commonwealth’s current budget had the largest surplus it had ever had and that his new budget largely focused on education.

The proposed pay raises fall short, according to the Virginia Education Association.

"We’re very disappointed that the Governor is not doing more to make sure the Commonwealth attracts and retains the very best teachers for our students," VEA director John O’Neil said in a statement. "With the economy recovering, it’s clear that we must make teaching an attractive career path. Low pay—coupled with the growing deductions for health insurance and retirement contributions that reduce teachers’ take-home pay—stand in the way of our progress toward this goal."

In addition to talking about pat raises and budgets, the Governor also answered questions about terrorism and gun control too. He also weighed in on the video clip that went viral recently of Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. telling a crowd, “I always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill."

The university later clarified that Falwell meant to say radical Muslims, like the ones who carried out the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

Still, Governor McAuliffe said the damage had been done as the the Commonwealth is in the middle of big business deals in the Middle East. He said "reckless statements" made it difficult to conduct business.

"When you have a statement from the head of one of your largest universities, like that, and that is the clip that keeps playing over and over, that is not helpful to me as governor as I try to recruit these companies in the Middle East to do business with the Commonwealth."