Proposed teacher pay raise bills are making their way through the legislature that would give an additional $1,000 over the next two years. Teachers with the Mississippi Association of Educators said the proposed pay raise, which amounts to a $19 per week raise and works out to $2.74 per day, was an insulting pay raise proposal.
When Representative Charles Busby, author of the House bill, was asked by News Mississippi about the breakdown of the pay raise, Busby responded saying he had not done the math but did say it will all come down to how much money is available in the budget.
“It is just a starting point,” said Busby. “If you start it out with something unbelievably high then somebody has to be the bad guy and bring it down to something reasonable. I think it’s better to start at something reasonable and move up. My goal would be to get our teachers in line with those of our neighboring states.”
Reeves said the proposed bills (HB 1349 and SB 2770) would cost taxpayers about $51 million respectively over two years time and impact more than 30,000 teachers, teacher assistants, librarians, and counselors.
“If we can commit to increasing salaries by about $51 million over the next two years, a teacher that was working in 2012 will make almost $8,000 more per year in 2020 than he or she made before I became lieutenant governor,” said Reeves in a statement.
While Reeves is expected to tout the teacher pay raise as a campaign promise met during his 2019 run for Governor, the current pay raise is not likely to do much good as a talking point as the teachers are disputing Reeves’ statement saying the math is incorrect.
“Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves tweeted that a teacher who was working in 2012 will have seen $8,000 added to their paycheck by the time his term ends later this year,” said a statement from the MAE. “That math sounded a little fuzzy to us so we decided to take it to the chalkboard.”
The social media post goes on to explain and break down a Mississippi teacher’s salary increase since 2012.
“The bottom line: It’s disingenuous for the Lieutenant Governor to take credit for a teacher’s experience and commitment to the profession, which is why step increases are NOT reflected in our numbers—nor should they be in his,” the post reads. “Maybe it’s the teacher in us, but we’re afraid we have to ask: Lieutenant Governor, please #ShowYourWork.”
State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright added that teachers need to be paid far more than they are receiving now and echoed the MAE saying the current proposal is insufficient.
“If it’s a starting point, then that’s a great point for discussion, it’s a place to say no less than, and then let’s see what we can do in terms of increasing it,” said Wright. “Teachers work incredibly hard each and every day and I think that they deserve pay that is commiserate with the amount of work that they do in guiding our children.”