The Missouri House passed an education bill that raises the minimum teacher salary from $25,000 to $38,000 and seeks to increase the state’s financial support for school districts’ annual operating budgets. The bill will now move to the Missouri Senate.
The average starting salary for teachers in Missouri is currently the lowest in the nation. In accordance with the proposed legislation, the state would cover 70% of a teacher’s salary increase for four years. Representative Ed Lewis, the bill’s sponsor, stated that future salary increases should be fully supported by districts due to increased school funding. In addition, the bill proposes scholarships for recent graduates who agree to teach in difficult-to-fill positions.
The bill was approved by a vote of 145 to 5. Additional amendments include the creation of a high school personal finance course, a pay increase for retired educators returning as substitute teachers, permission for districts to establish differentiated salary schedules to incentivize difficult-to-staff positions and schools, and the “Extended Learning Opportunities Act,” which requires districts to inform students of opportunities to earn school credits outside the classroom.