Prince William Education Association Weighs in on Governor’s Proposed Budget

| January 14, 2014 | 0 Comments | Education

PWEA President Jim Livingston, shown working in his office in 2012. (Photo by Stacy Shaw)

Prince William Education Association (PWEA) President Jim Livingston was among the public education advocates that recently testified before a panel of elected state officials. The regional public hearing (sponsored jointly by the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees of the Virginia General Assembly) was held at the Fairfax County Government Center on Friday, January 3, 2014, beginning at 10 a.m. The purpose of the scheduled budget hearing was to receive comments and hear concerns from Virginia’s citizenry.

Representing the Virginia Education Association as well as PWEA, Livingston, who currently serves on the VEA Board of Directors, focused on the welfare of students and the overall “health” of public education in the Commonwealth. He stated that, “Investments in public education, without question, pay dividends. Lack of funds compromises the educational opportunity of ALL our children in the form of larger class sizes, outdated textbooks, and inadequate technology.”

President Livingston indicated that “Virginia teachers’ average salary lags behind the national average by more than $6,500.

“It is little wonder that “some twenty percent of new public school teachers leave the professional by the end of the first year, and almost half leave within five years, driven out by the long hours, low pay, and lack of support and respect?” Livingston asked.

He also stated that in order to both attract and retain qualified school staff, the ability to provide competitive salaries is critical. Livingston, speaking on behalf of the VEA, urged “the General Assembly to provide a 6 percent state salary increase for our children’s teachers.”

President Livingston further stressed that while Virginia educators are most pleased to be a part of an educational system that continues to record stunning achievements, “we recognize that reductions in state funding for public schools jeopardize these results.” In closing, Livingston asserted a willingness to work together with the General Assembly in order “to preserve the quality of education for our young people and the quality of life for all Virginians.”

PWEA, the largest school employee group in Prince William County and local affiliate of the VEA, supports public education, public school students, and public school employees.

 

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