Gov. Phil Bryant today signed a pay raise for all Mississippi public school teachers into law. The raise is separate from local supplements that some districts offer and separate from stipends teachers can earn for certifications like National Board Certification. This is the first pay raise for all for all Mississippi teachers passed since 2007.
House Bill 504:
* provides a $1,500 raise for teachers in the 2014-2015 school year;
* provides a $1,000 raise for teachers in the 2015-2016 school year;
* establishes a statewide school recognition program to be implemented in the 2016-2017 school year; and
* requires the Legislature to adopt a pay plan for high-performing teachers in "C", "D" and "F" schools by the third year.
The school recognition program provides financial rewards to teachers and non-administrative staff in schools that increase their overall rating. Schools that either maintain an "A" rating or improve their rating by one level will receive $100 per pupil. Schools maintaining a "B" rating will receive $75 per pupil.
With the raises, the starting salary for a beginning public school teacher in Mississippi will be $34,390 by the 2015-2016 school year, which exceeds reported beginning salaries in Georgia and Tennessee. The first year of the raise program will cost $64.6 million.
"Mississippi is working hard to improve its public education system, and we are continuing to build on the transformational reforms we enacted last year through our "Education Works' agenda," Gov. Phil Bryant said. "These raises complement our other efforts to raise the bar in Mississippi classrooms, and I thank the teachers and educators who work hard every day to improve student achievement in our state."
The final bill is the result of collaborations between the House and Senate.
"I am so thankful we are here today to reward and incentivize teachers who have been working tirelessly to better educate our children," said Speaker of the House Philip Gunn. "Their job is one that doesn't stay within the confines of 8:00-5:00, Monday through Friday. They are not only educators, but also counselors, therapists and emotional rocks for many of our children.
As I stated before Session started, House Republicans stepped out with the idea of giving teachers a pay raise," he continued. "It was obvious as the Session progressed that everyone in the Capitol supported our effort. It took a lot of hard work, but I am proud to say we have accomplished our goal."
"I am proud we have the state's first statewide merit pay program that will encourage entire schools to focus on improving student achievement," Lt. Gov. Reeves said. "This legislation makes teacher pay more competitive to attract the best individuals to the classroom and gives current teachers an additional $3,500 in their paycheck by July 2015."