A plan voted by the Mississippi Senate on Thursday would provide teachers the biggest salary rise in years.
The final form of House Bill 530 must still be passed by the House before it can be sent to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves for his expected signing, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
Mississippi has historically had some of the nation’s lowest teacher wages.
“This is the plan that teachers have told us they wanted,” Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar said. “This is the input they provided to each and every one of us since last year.”
The plan would provide teachers a raise of roughly $5,100 on average, a more than 10% increase over their present wage.
According to the Southern Regional Education Board, the average teacher pay in Mississippi for the 2019-20 school year was $46,843. This was lower than the regional organization’s average salary $55,205 for instructors in the 16 states. $64,133 was the national average.
Teachers’ basic salary would rise by a few hundred dollars most years under the measure, with greater raises every fifth year of experience and a larger spike at 25 years.
A starting Mississippi teacher with a bachelor’s degree presently earns $37,000 from the state, plus a bonus from the local school district. The state’s base compensation would be $41,500 under the law. Teachers with greater experience and better degrees are paid more.
Over the course of two years, teachers’ assistants would get a $2,000 raise, bringing their income from $15,000 to $17,000.
The Mississippi Association of Educators expressed gratitude to the Senate for their decision.
“This legislative action provides an avenue for recruitment and retention of Mississippi’s public school teachers. We know first-hand how difficult the past two years of instruction have been for our educators and their assistants. We believe that by providing them the respect of paying them according to their value, we can expect more talented Mississippians to enter the field,” the non-profit advocacy group said in a statement.