The Senate this week passed its own version of a teacher pay raise bill, differing from the previously passed House bill by providing higher increases up front and eliminating the benchmark requirements. The Senate plan also provides for a performance-based stipend available to teachers beginning in 2016.
Lt. Governor Reeves and Senate Education Chair Gray Tollison are to be commended for their commitment to improving compensation for current teachers and for laying the groundwork to begin attracting our best and brightest into the teaching profession.
The Senate strike-all amendment to HB 504 provides for the following pay increases:
- 0 years experience – $2,490 increase to base pay, with no STEP increase for 2 years
- 1 year experience – $1,995 increase to base pay, with no STEP increase for 1 year
- 2 or more years experience – $1,500 increase to base pay, with STEP increases remaining in place
- $1,000 increase across the board for all teachers
- Performance-based School Recognition Program
- Financial awards can be used by schools for nonrecurring salary supplements for teachers and staff, or nonrecurring expenditures for educational equipment or materials to assist in maintaining and improving student performance; purpose to be determined jointly by teachers and staff of each school
- $100 per pupil awarded to schools rated A or to schools improving their accountability rating by at least one letter grade
- $75 per pupil awarded to schools rated B
Upon enactment of the across-the-board raises, starting pay for Mississippi teachers would improve from the current $30,900 to $33,390 in 2014-2015 and $34,390 in 2015-2016.
Compared to the House plan, the Senate plan raises starting pay by $3,490 in two years versus $4,250 over four years in the original House bill. The House plan also includes benchmark requirements for veteran teachers.
The Senate strike-all amendment to HB 504 will return to the House, which can either concur with the Senate plan or invite conference, in which three senators and three representatives would be tasked with negotiating an agreement. That agreement, called a conference report, then would return to both chambers for a final vote.