Teacher pay raise legislation voted down by state House
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:00 PM
Mississippi's public school teachers will have to wait a few more weeks before they know if they will be receiving a pay raise in the future. On Wednesday, the state House rejected a Senate bill that would have increased teacher pay $3,500 by July 1, 2015. The vote was 71-50.
Now, the matter will be taken up in conference set to begin during the last week of March.
Immediately following the vote, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves released a statement calling the move purely political.
"Unfortunately, the House voted today against teachers getting $3,500 more in their paycheck by July 1, 2015," he said. "I had hoped this week Gov. (Phil) Bryant could sign a significant teacher pay increase that included merit pay and was within our budget, but the House let political posturing win over increased teacher pay."
The House wants the pay raise to mirror their language, which provided a $4,250 raise over four years and required teachers to reach benchmarks in order to qualify.
The Senate version, released by Reeves last week, gave teachers $2,500 over two years while also increasing base salaries.
Madison County School District Superintendent Ronnie McGehee says there needs to be a legitimate increase in salary and it shouldn't boil down to just a few hundred dollars more a year.
"We were fortunate enough to give our guys - two years ago - a $600 raise," he said. "Divide that $600 over 12 months, then take out retirement and social security and there isn't that much.
"I think it's about time our teachers got a raise," he continued. "The pressure, expectation on teachers and administrators has been ramped up recently. We raise the expectations and requirements to get into the College of Education but we haven't raised the rewards."