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Mississippi House Passes Teacher Pay Raises

By Paul Boger | Published 06 Feb 2014 08:30am | comments
Mississippi teachers are another step closer to receiving a pay raise. The House spent hours debating a bill that the now heads to the senate for for further consideration. MPB's Paul Boger reports
 
After a contentious, three hour debate on House floor, a bill that would give teachers in Mississippi a 42-hundred dollar raise over the next four years is on it's way to the Senate for approval.
 
House Education Committee Chair Republican John Moore of Brandon believes this could end up being a victory for teachers.
 
"We have a vehicle to work with and I'm very proud. The teachers can rest assured that we're going to try to make sure that that thing makes them all smile before it's over with." said Moore.
 
According to the bill, teachers in their first five years would automatically get raises, while those with more experience would have to meet at least three of 22 benchmarks ranging from professional certifications to sponsoring extracurricular clubs. Something House Democrats find unacceptable. They see the benchmarks as an unnecessary hoop for teachers to jump though.
 
Representative Jim Evans of Jackson made a passionate plea on the house floor calling for an across the board pay raise.  
 
"When you want to give somebody four dollars a day and add a bunch of hoops for them jump through you are insulting them. You are insulting them and that's what the teacher are telling you all over this state. 'Don't insult me, give me my money if it's not but a thousand dollars give it to me, but don't tell me what I've got to do get it." said Evans.
 
Despite Evan's protest, the bill passed through the house with all benchmarks attached 85-26. Phillip Gunn is Speaker of the House. 
 
"The reality is, we have two options. We can bring out  a bill that sounds great talks about an across the board raise, gives them $5,000 and it'll die, because it happened last year. The Governor has already said he was against it, Lt. Governor said he's not for across the board, but we can pass it out and proclaim ourselves political heroes. We can be great in the eyes of the teachers and they'll get zero dollars in their pockets. Or we can do this bill, which I believe has a legitimate chance of success and it'll put dollars into their pockets." said Gunn.
 
Mississippi's average teacher pay is the second-lowest in the nation at 42 thousand dollars a year.
 

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