JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – One day after the inauguration, teacher pay remains a top topic of conversation at the Mississippi State Capitol.
Campaign promises and teacher pay will soon be tested, as the state senate dropped several bills to increase the wages of educators.
“We’re going to establish our starting pay for teachers at $37,000 for a new teacher out of college or passing the praxis practice or whatever the case may be,” said Senator Dennis Debar, Chair of the Education Committee.
The bill also calls for a $1,000 increase for teachers and teacher assistants.
“We anticipate meeting this summer with all the stakeholders and trying to come up with what is best for a multi-year pay for years two, three and four to actually bring our teachers up to the Southeastern Average, where they need to be,” said Sen. Debar.
However, some legislators would like to see things move a bit faster. Senator Davis Jordan filed a bill to put wages at the Southeastern Average.
“I’d like to see it done tomorrow, but realistically I’d like to see us get started on it early next year, next school term. I would like to see another raise this year,” said Sen. Jordan.
Democrat David Blount co-authored Sen. Debar’s bill. He said there’s going to be a plan to put Mississippi on track to reach the Southeastern Average.
“This is part of a long-range plan for every year this term, not just an election year, not just a campaign year, but every year. So, we’re going to move forward to complete the pay raise for last year, to do a pay raise again for the upcoming school year and then have a comprehensive plan for the next three years to address teacher shortage, to attract quality people young people in the profession and improve our school,” said Sen. Blount.
All senate bills, including the $1,000 teacher pay raise, are subject to change, if the state house amends the number.