Virginia Beach ranks second among local school districts in pay for first-year teachers but fifth in how it compensates teachers with advanced degrees, according to data from the district’s Human Resources Department.
Judith Wood, a human resources compensation/classification specialist, said Tuesday at a School Board workshop that Virginia Beach remains economically competitive in southeastern Virginia, and that one of her department’s goals is to attract and retain a talented workforce of teachers.
Entry-level teachers earn $42,810 a year, while those who have the most experience — with 36 or more years — earn $73,818, according to the data. Measured against Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton and Suffolk, the district ranks second for entry-level compensation and first for compensation for workers with more than 30 years of experience, Wood said.
However, teachers in Virginia Beach pay much more in health care premium costs than in other nearby cities, according to the district’s annual report. For an employee-only plan, teachers pay a monthly premium of about $120, as well as an annual deductible of more than $800. In some districts, such as Chesapeake and Newport News, those deductibles are subsidized by the school district, so the employees pay $0.
In Virginia Beach, teachers with a master’s degree make $2,500 more than those who have only a bachelor’s degree with the same amount of teaching experience. Wood said more than 2,600 Virginia Beach teachers hold at least a master’s. However, the district is fifth in the region in compensation for those with advanced degrees.
Bernard Platt, a human resources specialist for Virginia Beach schools, said that despite those challenges they hired 418 qualified teachers for the current school year. Platt said they received many online applications — almost 1,100 of them for a posting for general elementary school teachers — but they had to sort through many unqualified applicants. Still, he said they met their goal of starting the school year with a full staff.
Platt also gave information on retention, saying that most of the teachers that left the district left because of retirement, relocation of their spouse or family, or the expiration of their temporary contract. Twelve teachers left to pursue work at a different school district.
The Human Resources Department gave the School Board a “wish list” of items for the 2016-2017 budget that totaled more than $13 million. The list included increased pay for teacher assistants and increased allowance pay for those with advanced degrees.