State lawmakers and education officials have suggested that the Legislature should consider paying teachers in certain parts of the state more than teachers in the rest of the state. The Eastern Panhandle and Northern Panhandle were two examples where teachers can drive across the state line and make from $10,000 to $15,000 more per year.
The development of a "regional differential pay" structure for the teachers is being suggested for the Legislature to consider. We do not feel that this is the long-term solution for the problem facing the state and its teachers.
We continue to lose quality teachers from all parts of the state to other states that offer better salaries and a higher commitment to their education system. Creating a "regional differential pay" structure only fixes part of the problem instead of fixing the problem as a whole.
Teachers who are not in the regions that receive the increase will continue to migrate out of state or to regions that offer higher pay. This leaves the rest of the state looking for quality teachers to fill the vacated positions.
The Legislature needs to develop a plan that will increase teacher salaries statewide so that the state does not continue to lose quality teachers. This is the first step in developing a sound education system, which is a vital part to the recovery of the state from an economic viewpoint.
We understand that the state operates off of a tight budget, but a commitment to the state's education system and its educators needs to be made. The investment that we make now in the education of our kids will pay back huge dividends in the future to the state.
Telegram Editorial Board member