Suffolk teachers catching up

Published 10:52 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2010

According to research by the Virginia Department of Education, the 2010 average teacher salary in Suffolk is below the state average, but Suffolk teachers slightly closed the gap between themselves and their counterparts around the state.

According to the DOE, the average salary for Suffolk classroom teachers for fiscal year 2010 is $50,234, a slight increase from 2009.

The average salary for classroom teachers in Virginia this year is $52,149, a fractional decrease from fiscal year 2009.

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There is a greater disparity between the state’s average principal’s salary, $92,127, and Suffolk’s average, $85,434, which increased .8 percent on the state level but remained consistent in Suffolk.

Assistant principals in Suffolk, with an average salary of $68,253, still earn less than the state average — $76,885 — but again in Suffolk, the average increase in salary is higher than it was at the state level, meaning Suffolk is closing the gap, if slowly.

While Suffolk’s average salaries for their teachers, principals and assistant principals may be below the state average, they’re competitive in Hampton Roads.

Suffolk has a higher average salary for its teachers than Hampton and Newport News, but its average teacher salaries lag as much as $4,624 behind those of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake.

First-year teachers get a pretty good deal in Suffolk.

Suffolk was just $100 behind Hampton as the top-paying school system in Hampton Roads last school year for starting teachers with a bachelor’s degree. The city led Hampton Roads in the salary it provides for starting teachers with a master’s degree. It ranked fourth among the seven area school divisions in its starting pay teachers with a doctorate degree.