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Mississippi House and Senate reach agreement on teacher pay raise details

Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 8:18 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There is now an agreement for the details of a teacher pay raise plan at the State Capitol. Senate and House members of the conference committee signed off on the deal Wednesday.

That full report can be read HERE.

Educators are constantly monitoring what’s happening with these pay raise negotiations at the Capitol.

“We needed to provide some incentive, some motivation for teachers to become teachers to stay in our state and not leave,” said Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar.

“Happy to hear Senate’s counter proposal today includes that high in bump on the front end,” noted Rep. Jansen Owen.

But Wednesday, many of the teachers were able to watch the negotiations in real time because of the timing with Spring Break for many.

“This is a long time coming for teachers,” said one school administrator after watching the conference committee meeting.

So, let’s look at the specifics.

The now-signed conference report would raise the base salaries by an average of $5,140. Depending on their certification level, teachers would get between $1,200-$1,350 milestone raises every 5 years, with a $2,500 increase at year 25. And the plan would take effect next school year.

The step increases will continue through Year 35.

• Class A (starting $41,500): $400 each year except for Years 5, 10, 15, and 20, in which they would receive $1,200; in Year 25, they would receive $2,500

• Class AA (starting $43,000): $525 each year except for Years 5, 10, 15, and 20, in which they would receive $1,250; in Year 25, they would receive $2,500

• Class AAA (starting $44,000): $550 each year except for Years 5, 10, 15, and 20, in which they would receive $1,300; in Year 25, they would receive $2,500

• Class AAAA (starting $45,500): $600 each year except for Years 5, 10, 15, and 20, in which they would receive $1,350; in Year 25, they would receive $2,500

The current schedule does not include increases in Year 1-3 or the milestone raises.

The retention side of that is something veteran teacher Suzanne Smith knows is needed.

“I think it will be a huge incentive for those of us who’ve been there for a while,” said Smith who works in Grenada schools. “Because normally, once you reach a certain pay grade you kind of are stuck there. And now that that you’ve included these bump increases, I think that we have a lot more people that are going to stay with the profession longer.”

Jasmine Cleark-Gibson has been teaching for seven years. She didn’t pick teaching for the money, but she admits that what she makes now doesn’t cut it.

“I’ve had to do Uber,” she said. “I’ve had to do Lyft, DoorDash, many of those drive rideshare programs or delivery services. I’ve also found myself working many odd jobs for people, just anything to help cushion my home... But also my students have the things that they need. Because many times educators do that, we take money from our own pockets to support our students because they need that support as well.”

Each chamber will still need to vote on this latest report before it can be sent to the Governor. So, it’s a significant step but not a done deal.

“The winners today are our teachers who are helping grow the next generation of Mississippi leaders,” said Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. “Thank you for all of your work on behalf of our state. The critically important role you play in the future of our state is not lost on the Mississippi Senate.”

And House Education Vice Chairman Rep. Kent McCarty discussed the agreement in a Twitter thread.

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