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School superintendent proposes $8.4M compensation structure to keep city teachers

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 00:31:45-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond City Public Schools want to update the district’s compensation structure, despite facing budget woes.

School Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden said the $8.4 million plan will update the district's compensation structure. The strategy is intended to keep educators from getting work experience in Richmond, and then leaving for jobs in other local counties that can afford to pay a higher salary.

School Board member Kristen Larson also said that experienced teachers are leaving because they aren't making money based on how long they've been in the system.

“So, what happens is we recruit a teacher at a certain salary coming in, so you have a first year teacher who could potentially be making the same amount of salary as someone who has been in our system for seven, eight years,” Larson said. “And that contributes to negative morale.”

School Board Meeting

Monday night teachers filled the Richmond School Board meeting and spoke up in support of change.

“If you want things to get better you have to get involved,” said 13-year RPS veteran Chris Lombardi.

“We want buildings that are safe for teachers to teach in and children to learn in, we also want fair compensation," he added.

The superintendent's proposal would give many experienced teachers their first raise in a long time.

Victoria Carll has been teaching at RPS for eight years. She said she has never gotten an experience raise.

“I am a mother who has to take care of her child and if I give my heart every day to the students at Richmond Public Schools I would hope that they would make it a priority so that I can feed my child,” said Spanish teacher Victoria Carll.

Teachers said they don't think their cries for action are falling on deaf ears.

“I feel like they were listening,” said Lombardi.

The compensation plan is part of a new Richmond school budget that is $26 million higher than last year's budget.

The budget still needs to be approved.