Chesterfield’s historic investment in teacher compensation last year had a significant, and immediate, positive impact on its competitive position with two regional peer jurisdictions.
By allocating $23 million in the fiscal year 2022 budget to implement the first phase of a new pay plan, Chesterfield alleviated compression throughout the pay scales for thousands of teachers and other school-based employees, such as principals and assistant principals, guidance counselors, librarians and instructional assistants.
Adoption of the plan, which followed months of study by an outside consultant, also has positioned Chesterfield to lead the Richmond region’s other two large counties – Henrico and Hanover – on 24 of the 30 steps in their respective pay scales for the 2021-22 school year.
According to the current pay scales, a teacher earns $37,116 more in Chesterfield than Henrico over the course of a 30-year career, and $62,884 more in Chesterfield than Hanover.
This year, Chesterfield is building on that success and making an even greater commitment to compensation for the people who work directly with more than 60,000 students every day in public schools across the county.
The fiscal year 2023 budget that was approved by the Board of Supervisors on April 6 includes $36 million to implement Phase II of the pay plan for teachers and other school-based employees.
Part of the funding will be used to increase the starting salary for new teachers by 7.6%, from $46,000 to $49,481, for the 2022-23 school year.
It also raises each subsequent step on the pay scale by 7.6% to avoid falling back into compression and ensure that Chesterfield’s educators will continue to be compensated for their skill and experience.
(This blog will be updated in the coming months once Henrico and Hanover publish their 2022-23 teacher pay scales.)
The timing couldn’t be more ideal; Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) is entering its busiest recruiting period of the year with a pay plan that is competitive for both aspiring teachers who will graduate from college in May and veteran teachers currently working for other school systems.
County administration and the Board of Supervisors have embraced such a holistic, career-focused approach to the recruitment and retention of a high-quality workforce.
As they have for Chesterfield’s public safety agencies (police, fire and sheriff), county leaders recognize the challenges of hiring and keeping teachers during a period of rising labor costs and increased competition from the private sector.
Rather than focus exclusively on leading the market in starting pay, Chesterfield strives for balance: be competitive for new front-line employees while maintaining a sustainable compensation plan, attractive benefits package and workplace culture that encourage people to build a career here.
Chesterfield public safety officials indicate it’s having the desired effect in reducing employee turnover and avoiding the acute staffing shortfalls that have been seen in other parts of the country.
Similar results would be welcome news for CCPS, which has each of its schools fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education and is widely regarded as among the best school systems in the state. Such accomplishments begin with the quality of the people working daily in Chesterfield’s classrooms.