Groups Rally for More Money for Teachers, Schools

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Jackson, Miss.

It's not a new message, but teachers and others say they hope that 2015 proves more fruitful in their push for higher pay and increased state aid to public schools.

The Mississippi Association of Educators, the state's largest teacher union, rallied Monday at the Capitol to push for an across-the-board pay raise for the state's 22,000 public school teachers.

Groups sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund also rallied to push for lawmakers to fully fund the state's formula for sending school aid to local districts.

This year, the call for across-the-board pay raises is being backed by House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, although Gov. Phil Bryant says he only wants merit-based increases.

Some legislative leaders say they hope to narrow the projected $215 million funding gap for schools in the 2015 budget.