ROANOKE, Va. – Pulaski County Schools are looking to give teachers a raise but, before that happens they need to get money from the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.
“I need a higher wage so that I won’t have to work several jobs,” Sarah Rodden, a third grade teacher at Dublin Elementary said.
Rodden, who holds a master’s degree, says she has to work up to three jobs to make ends meet.
“One was a part time and the other is a personal mural business,” Rodden said.
Rodden one teacher in Pulaski County Schools advocating for better wages.
She was one of nearly two dozen people who showed up at the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors meeting, making their concerns known to members.
“One of the most important jobs in this county is our school system,” Rodden said.
Pulaski Education Association, a teacher’s union, represents teachers. Staff said Pulaski County Schools have lost teachers to neighboring districts like Radford and Montgomery County because of better pay.
“We are in the 40′s nationwide for teacher pay overall, that is a fear, we do see that every year we do lose a few to Radford and Montgomery County,” Candy Castelluccio, president of the Pulaski Education Association said.
Castelluccio hopes the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors will help cover an additional $2 million the school board is requesting to pay for a proposed 7% pay raise. Part of the money will also help with inflation costs for bus fuel and electricity.
“We’re working on the budget, we take a holistic approach to budgeting so we’ve got a lot of needs to meet and limited resources,” Pulaski County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said.
County leaders say they are waiting to get final budget numbers from the state on how much Pulaski County will get this year, and they may learn as late as June.
But, they want to ensure public education is top priority for the county.
“The budget season has just started for the board, sustainability of talent is paramount to the Board of Supervisors and has always been and always will be,” Sweet said.