Senate unveils teacher pay raise plan
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Mississippi leaders all agree that they would like to see teachers get a pay raise. Now the question is how much. The Senate plan was unveiled today.
It’s front-loaded, upping starting pay and making sure teachers don’t get knocked out of those built-in step increases in the first few years. But it also finds ways to reward those who stick around.
“This is about providing teachers with a living wage that they can go out and, and just be a teacher if that’s what they want to do,” said Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar. “Focus on their classroom work, not be focused on how am I going to pay their bills in the second job. And I think this actually does that.”
Both Senate Education Chair Dennis DeBar and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann say there’s been a history of bumping teacher pay in election years, and they want to break that cycle.
“We structured this specifically to respond to teachers’ requests, but also to start the process where we don’t have election year compensation issues,” noted Hosemann.
For example, let’s look at a first-year teacher who has a bachelor’s degree. After two years under this proposal, the starting salary will change from $37,000 to $40,000. They’d also get $500 step increases, including the first three years. Right now, step increase doesn’t kick in for those early years. In year one, the bump will depend on years served and level of education. But in year two of the plan, all teachers would get an additional $1,000.
“I’m still looking at the plan like everybody else, but I think it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said Mississippi Professional Educators Executive Director Kelly Riley. “You know, $210 million investment in our teachers is an investment in our children and an investment in our schools.”
They’ll get a bigger increase at milestone years 5,10, 15, 20, and 25, ranging from $1,325 to $1,625, depending on their certification level. Again, feedback from teachers was gathered during the listening sessions with Chairman DeBar.
“We get these bumps every year as the step increases every year, but it’s really no impact, especially with the, you know, the high inflation that’s going on now and the other things that are going on,” DeBar said he heard from the teacher. “So, this will provide maybe some incentive, something for a teacher to look forward to and stay in the profession.”
The average increase to the base salary over two years would be $4,700.
The Speaker said last week that the House would have a teacher pay plan but didn’t reveal an amount yet. And the Governor has proposed a $3,300 dollar raise across three years. Now, we’ll see how this proposal fairs through the legislative process.
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