According to a Richmond News Leader article from this week in 1946, teachers in Chesterfield were voted a bonus from a state windfall of $29,984 that when distributed equally among teachers would equal $150. Superintendent of Schools E.S.H. Greene asked the Board of Supervisors to make up the difference to come up with a bonus of $200, but Dale District Supervisor J.G. Hening immediately offered a motion stating otherwise. “Teachers’ salaries in Chesterfield have gone up about 50 percent in the last 19 years,” he said. Hening motioned for a $150 bonus.
Bermuda District Supervisor Harold T. Goyne offered a substitute motion for the $200 bonus, but it died for lack of a second. Goyne asked his fellow board members, “Where can you or I employ this sort of labor for $125 a month?”
It was 1946, and nationwide a teacher’s average annual salary was $1,441. Minimum wage was $.43 an hour and the national debt was $43 billion. Hening’s motion passed 5 – 1 and teachers got their bonus; equal to 10 percent of their pay.