Lawmakers nearing teacher pay raise proposal that offers ten percent jump

The long-awaited salary raise for Mississippi teachers may be on the horizon as lawmakers in the capitol are close to reaching a deal.

The current proposal raises salaries by an impressive 10 percent – from $37,000 to $41,500, with more raises as educators gain experience. Lawmakers at the Capitol agreed to those details earlier this week.

Teachers across the Magnolia State wait with bated breath for the legislation to pass before the session ends in April.

Vanessa Barnaby emphasized that teachers don’t just teach – they’re surrogate family and mentors to the kids in their district, and they therefore have intrinsic value beyond a paycheck. “Are we going to make them into pillars of our community? Is it going to be the next year that this kid ends up going to a competition for something? Are they going to remember who we are? So, the raise, monetarily, yes, it’s going to be amazing. Is it worth it for us? Of course, it is. But hopefully for all of us it’s just a start.”

One theme kept popping up at Vancleave Middle School: the 10 percent raise is hopefully just the beginning of better pay for teachers. Many believe wages are at least partly to blame for the high turnover rate of young educators in Mississippi. Teacher Diane Miller said, “I don’t want to speculate that we are getting it, but if we do, I believe more teachers will stay in Mississippi. We’ll get quality teachers. And they won’t be leaving to go to neighboring states to make more money.”

Teacher Alex Bosarge said, “It’s life-changing. So, since I’ve been a teacher, I have always worked multiple jobs just to make ends meet. My husband is a teacher as well, and he’s had to work multiple jobs.”

The newly-named START Act would be a $250 million investment and would take effect in the fall.

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