JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -We’ve told you about the concerns of a teacher shortage in Mississippi. Each year, there’s a push to pay those teachers better. And Senators are getting that ball rolling this year. The Senate Education Committee passed Senate Bill 2001 Thursday morning.
There’s a much different vibe from educators compared to last legislative session. Teachers with three or more years experience would see a $1,000 raise under SB 2001. That’s less than last year’s $1,500. So, what gives?
“We are looking at a multi-year plan," said Pearl High School Principal Chris Chism. "This is not just a 1,000 dollar pay raise. At the very minimum, they’re hearing what we’re saying. They’re hearing teacher voices across the state and that couldn’t make me happier.”
Another difference is a bump for teachers starting out. $1,110 for those with two years experience or less. That’s something that could help with recruitment.
“It signals to our teachers and our teacher programs that hey, we take notice now and we’re going to be committed to this,” said Lauderdale County School District Superintendent Dr. John-Mark Cain.
Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann is making it a point to say they won’t stop here with teacher pay.
“Next year we’ll look at again and see what our finances are," noted Hosemann. "Maybe more or less, just every year we want to continue to bring our teachers up.”
But he’s stressing that teachers are just the beginning.
“We are going to do bottom up state pay raises this year where we raise everyone to a minimum amount of 21,000 dollars," added Hosemann. "We have over 1,000 state employees working right now making less than that.”
Representatives for teachers and administrators say it’s a good day.
“The fact that this is the first year of a four year of the term when legislators are facing re-election campaigns...that sends a very important message to educators,” said Executive Director of Mississippi Professional Educators Kelly Riley.
“It’s a great first step for the commitment to education," explained Dr. Ronnie McGehee, Executive Director of Mississippi Association of School Administrators and Mississippi Association of Secondary School Principals. "Education today is very important for us. Our workforce of tomorrow is in our public schools today. When you make that commitment to the teacher who turns that light on every day on that child, that’s very important.”
All assistant teachers would also receive a one thousand dollar raise under this proposal. We’ll follow the progress of this bill during the legislative process.