Karen Garza, Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent, likely to cut budget to fund teacher raises

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Fairfax County schools Superintendent Karen Garza has a history of cutting costs in order to give teachers raises, setting the stage for her budget priorities this year.

Garza has proposed $41 million in raises for classroom teachers and staff. But the budget for 2015 also includes $96 million in cuts that would eliminate 731 staff positions.

The Washington Post reports this is a tactic Garza used before as superintendent in Lubbock, Texas and as second-in-command of Houston's schools.

Garza says teachers drive student achievement and raises are crucial because Fairfax salaries lags behind neighbors. The average teacher salary in Fairfax is $64,813, while the District of Columbia pays $77,512, Montgomery County pays $74,855 and Arlington pays $72,997.

Garza says she wants Fairfax to lead in pay within five years.