By HOPE RACINE
Virginia legislators have proposed a budget that would allow raises for state employees, including teachers and college faculty, for the first time in several years.
Following budget cuts and tax increases, room was found to award long-awaited salary raises without pulling the money necessary from higher education funds.
Earlier this year, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced a budget plan that would limit the amount of state funding provided to higher education. The University of Mary Washington prepared for a five percent cut of their general fund appropriation from the state. As a result of the planned cuts, the university implemented a hiring freeze.
In response to this year’s earlier budget plan, McAuliffe urged institutions not to raise tuition and to work creatively to find room in the budgets elsewhere. As a result, there were 23 unfilled staff positions at UMW in September, and many faculty members were required to fulfill extra roles and duties.
In the budget proposed by the state Senate, state employees would see a three percent increase by Sept. 1, while the House budget suggests a 1.5 percent increase with an extra $80 for every year an individual has held their position. This additional raise would only be provided for employees with five years of previous state service.
Both budget proposals have allowances for college faculty, however, suggesting a two percent raise for faculty and staff of higher education.
Whether the budget will be pushed through is yet to be seen, though the UMW budget still reflects an anticipated seven percent cut next year. UMW has yet to announce any plans to implement a pay raise for faculty or staff.