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Lt Gov Proposes Teacher Pay Raise Plan, Different From Houses

By Paul Boger | Published 03 Mar 2014 07:47pm | comments
The Mississippi Senate may soon debate a plan that would give teachers an automatic pay raise over the next year-and-a-half. As MPB's Paul Boger reports lawmakers hope the pay increase will kept more teachers to the profession.
 
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves is proposing a plan that would give an across the board pay raise to teachers as early as July. Speaking to reporters in the Capitol yesterday, Reeves says raising pay is essential to keeping good teachers in the state.
 
"This plan puts more money into teacher's pockets faster than any other proposal out there." said Reeves. "A current teacher would make $3,500 more in 16 months than they do right now."
 
According to Reeves' plan, teachers could expect to see a 15-hundred dollars by July 1st, and another one-thousand dollars in 2015. However, in 2016, pay raises would become merit based and linked to school performance. Kelly Riley is with Mississippi Professional Educators -- a teacher's organization.
 
"I think school-based is a great approach to take, because research has proven that they most critical factor is that classroom teacher, but the entire success of the school is set by the tone and leadership of the principle." said Riley. "So, I think a school-based approach is definitely worthy of consideration.
 
The Senate's proposal is also dramatically different than one passed by the House last month. Under the House plan, experienced teachers would receive a 42-hundred dollars raise after they fulfilled at least three of 22 benchmarks. Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn says he's okay with removing the benchmarks. 
 
"The benchmarks were only put in our bill because the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor indicated that they do not support across the board." said Gunn. "As you know, I said from the beginning that I was open to an across the board if that's what it take to get a pay raise to the teachers. The benchmarks were only put in there to satisfy them, and if they're okay with removing them then that's fine by me."
 
Both House and Senate Democrats say they favor a bill that would give teacher's a five thousand dollar across the board pay raise not linked to benchmarks or merit-based proposals.

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