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House leaders craft another proposal for teacher pay raises

Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:38 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Teacher pay raises were a hot topic at the State Capitol once again on Thursday.

House leaders held a press conference, releasing their latest proposal to boost pay for teachers.

“We believe this bill is a strong statement by the House of Representatives,” said Philip Gunn, Speaker of the House. Under this proposed plan for House Bill 530, the average teacher would see a $4,850 pay increase. That bumps the average starting salary for teachers up to $41,679.

The plan also gives teacher assistants a $2,000 pay increase.

Gunn said the pay bump included in this plan exceeds both the southeastern and the national starting averages for teacher pay.

”This bill is a win for our teachers, it’s a win for the education community, but, most importantly, it’s a win for students,” said Gunn. Also included in plan are step increases for milestones.

Educators would get at least $400 each year, at least $1,000 every 5th year, and a $2,500 increase their 25th year.

Funding the pay raise would cost $226 million.

”We realize this is a recurring expense,” said State Representative Richard Bennett, who represents the 120th District and is also the Chairman of the House Education Committee. “This is something that has to be sustainable. We’ve been assured, we’ve tweaked the numbers, we’ve gone over them over and over, and this is something the taxpayer can afford.”

House leaders crafted the plan without negotiating with senators.

Just last week, the Senate passed its version of the bill, then sent it over to the House. Representatives then put this latest plan together.

However, Gunn said he’s open to any suggestions for improvements that Senate leaders may have.

”We delivered the Conference Report that we think encapsulates the best plan that has been put on the table,” said Gunn. “We have signed it, we have delivered it, [the Senate], as I understand it, has gone home for the week. This is our position now. If they want to respond, I guess we will see what they will have to say when they get back next week.”

District 43 Senator Dennis Debar serves as the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. He said the committee will review the latest changes to the plan made by House leaders.

“The Senate conferees will take a look at the House report and run the numbers,” said Debar. “We hope to be able to finalize an agreement soon.”

If lawmakers approve this plan, the pay raises would go into effect for the 2022-2023 school year.

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