Teacher pay raise passes out of Senate Education Committee

A teacher pay raise bill is making its way through the early portion of the legislative process. 

SB 2001 was passed by the Senate Education Committee, sending it on for debate on the chamber floor. Authored by Committee Chairman Dennis Debar, the bill seeks to raise the starting salary for Mississippi teachers from $35,890 to $37,000 as well as provide a $1,000 raise for current teachers. 

Even with the raise, Mississippi would remain below the regional average of $44,000, according to Debar. 

“We’re still going to be below the southern average, but if we can slowly increase it as we plan to do, we’ll be getting close…If we can get it up to over $40,000 in the next few years, that would be a good start,” he said. 

Additionally, the bill would raise the starting salary for assistant teachers to $15,000. Debar explained that the cost of the bill comes out to roughly $50 million. 

SB 2001 is similar to legislation passed by the Senate in 2020 which was eventually torpedoed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A $1,500 teacher pay raise was passed by the legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Phil Bryant in 2019.