Teacher pay raise bill narrowly survives deadline day

Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2022 at 10:48 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -The teacher pay raise bill narrowly survived deadline day at the State Capitol.

After not being brought up in the House, the Senate Education Committee passed another version of the bill late Tuesday afternoon.

This would be the third bill the Senate has passed on a teacher pay raise. Lawmakers say they do want to give teachers a raise, but the House and Senate have different views on which version of the bill they want to pass.

House Bill 530 mirrors the bill the Senate previously passed; however, there’s one change now being added.

“We’ve added teacher assistants to the bill as well,” said Senator Dennis Debar, who represents District 43, and serves as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Under this proposal, teacher assistants will get a $1,000 increase for the next two years which will bump their salaries to $16,000 annually for the first year and $17,000 for the following year.

A first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree will make $39,000 a year for the first year, and will see a bump up to $40,000 the second year.

“We have increased teacher pay by a quarter of a billion dollars. That may not even be sufficient, but it is a step forward that shows the Mississippi legislature has teachers as the number one priority,” said Hosemann.

While lawmakers hammered out this proposal, members on the House Education Committee didn’t bring the item up during Tuesday’s session, leaving it solely up to the Senate to determine whether the bill stays alive.

“I can’t reconcile how our House adjourned without a teacher pay raise after we have all been working on this,” said Hosemann.

“Bottom line is teachers are winners here,” said Senator Dennis Debar. “They deserve what we did here this afternoon. They don’t need to be used as pawns in a game of politics. We’re here to take care of teachers, to take care of students, to improve our education system.”

Now that the bill passed in committee, the Senate will now vote on the proposal. If approved, it goes over to the House for representatives to decide whether to approve or amend the legislation.

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