A teacher pay raise bill is advancing through the early stages of the legislative process.
SB 2001 would raise the starting salary for new teachers in Mississippi to $37,000 a year while also giving current teachers a $1,000 raise, and this morning, it passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee.
At the beginning of the 2020 session, lawmakers passed a bill to cover the $18.4 million deficit from last year’s teacher pay raise, and Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said that both chambers are ready to support Mississippi’s teachers.
“The House had the leadership to begin resolving the $18.4 million deficit from last year’s teacher pay raise as soon as the 2020 Session started, and the Senate wanted to send a similar message to our public educators this year. The message is one of support and respect,” Hosemann said. “I appreciate the leadership Chairman Dennis DeBar and Vice Chairman David Blount have shown working together on this important legislation.”
Lt. Governor @DelbertHosemann says that he wants to make sure becoming a teacher isn’t an economic decision and that this is the first step in the right direction with the teacher pay raise bill. #msleg
— News Mississippi (@News_MS) January 30, 2020
During his State of the State Address on Monday, Governor Tate Reeves stated that Mississippi’s current financial outlook allows lawmakers to address teacher pay.
“Thanks to cost-saving measures and tax cuts that have spurred our economy, we have more money coming in than ever before. We must never forget that our focus on protecting that taxpayers is what got us to this financial position. As we begin to allocate this new revenue, I can think of no one more deserving, and no task more essential, than increasing the pay of our teachers,” Reeves said.
Chairman Debar, the bill’s author, will work with Hosemann and other leaders to continue to address the issues facing education in Mississippi moving forward.
“We are facing a teacher shortage in many of our districts which is reaching a critical level. Part of turning this dire situation around is monetary. Our teachers are doing some of the most important work in our State, and they deserve to be properly compensated for it,” DeBar said. “I look forward to working closely with my colleagues in the House on this and other education issues.”
SB 2001 will now be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee before being brought to the Senate floor. Hosemann stated that the bill already has bipartisan support in the chamber.