JACKSON, Miss.–Getting your child’s teacher a raise of some sort will likely be accomplished this year by the Mississippi legislature. But, just like a trip in the car, getting there is half the fun. Wednesday morning the plan by the Mississippi House was sent to conference, where three senators and three representatives will work the bill out over several weeks time.
The vote by the House to send the bill to conference was 71 to 50.
House Speaker Phillip Gunn said he believes a plan by the Senate to be inferior to the House bill, calling points of the Senate version “unconstitutional”.
“It is obvious that everyone in the Capitol supports a teacher pay raise,” said Gunn. “We in the House have passed a bill that would provide each teacher a raise. The Senate has followed our lead and done the same. We commend the Senate for coming around to our way of thinking regarding a pay raise. That being said, we are unable to concur on the bill they sent us last week.”
This is from a news release by the House:
The reasons we do not agree with the Senate plan include:
1. The merit pay proposal is unconstitutional.*
2. The Senate Plan includes a smaller total amount than the House Plan: $2,500 vs. $4,250.
3. The Senate Plan supports lower starting salaries for teachers overall: $34,390 vs. $35,150.
4. The Senate’s merit plan disincentivizes good teachers to go to or remain in “C”, “D” and “F” schools. The money follows the school, not the teacher, under the merit-based Senate plan.
5. Therefore, under the Senate plan, 343 schools would not receive pay raises if we based the pay raise on today’s school ratings.
6. There is no guarantee that the merit dollars would go toward teacher salaries. That money could go toward supplies and equipment.
Statement regarding House’s conference position regarding teacher pay raise bill, House Bill 504:
“The House Republican Caucus position takes the pay raise of $2,500 in the first two years that the Senate has proposed,” said Speaker Gunn. “During the third and fourth years, we will get back up to the $4,250 total raise that the House originally passed. We will do that by placing a revenue trigger in the legislation that says if we hit three percent revenue growth in the third year, all teachers will receive $1,000. In the fourth year if we hit three percent revenue growth, all teachers will receive $750. We will remove the Senate’s unconstitutional language related to merit pay, and there will be no benchmarks for teachers to obtain a raise.”