Senate approves $1,500 pay raise for Mississippi teachers

MGN Online

Mississippi lawmakers are moving toward a $1,500 pay raise for teachers beginning July 1.

Posted: Mar 28, 2019 10:59 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers are moving toward a $1,500 pay raise for teachers beginning July 1.

The state Senate on Thursday voted 46-2 to approve the changes to the pay schedule for teachers starting July 1. Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison says the increase is expected to cost about $58 million.

House and Senate negotiators reached the deal on Senate Bill 2770 late Wednesday after days of negotiations. The House must also approve the agreement.

The raise is higher than the pair of $500 increases over two years that Republican leaders initially proposed.

On a 28-19 vote, the Senate rejected an attempt by Senate Democratic Minority Leader Derrick Simmons of Greenville to seek a higher pay raise. Simmons wanted to restart negotiations for a pair of $2,000 increases over two years.

Appropriations Committee Chairman Buck Clarke, a Republican from Hollandale, told senators that giving a larger raise to teachers would mean reducing spending for other state services.

"What would you be willing to cut? There is nothing left out on the table," Clarke said. "Everything has been spent, I assure you."

After Simmons' attempt to push for a larger raise was rejected, he voted against the $1,500 raise.

"I support a teacher pay raise," Simmons said. "I just don't think it's sufficient."

The bill would also boost the long-frozen minimum salaries for assistant teachers from $12,500 to $14,000. The Mississippi Department of Education says there are 31,000 classroom teachers and 3,500 assistants statewide. An additional number of other school personnel with educator licenses would also be covered.

House members had been fighting with the Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for days over his desire to increase funding for a program that pays for special education students to attend private schools.

House Education Committee Chairman Richard Bennett, a Long Beach Republican, flatly refused to increase money that had been sought to clear a waiting list, saying the program is set to expire next year and that a legislative review raised questions about its effectiveness. In a statement on the raise Wednesday night, Reeves said "our student achievement is improving because of the hard work of our teachers and I'm thankful for their efforts."

House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Read, a Gautier Republican, said Wednesday that he considered the new spending plan a "good budget," in part because it gives raises and increases some services.

Republican leaders in the House said state agency employees who have gotten no pay raises in the last three years will get a 3 percent raise, although Democrats warned that many employees who are still poorly paid may see nothing. Clarke said pay increases would also be provided to some university and community college employees.

The overall budget will include more than $6 billion in state revenue and more than $20 billion overall including federal money. Clarke said legislators are likely to increase spending of state revenue by $175 million to $200 million over what was in this year's budget

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36680

Reported Deaths: 1250
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds304154
DeSoto200920
Madison150839
Jones123149
Harrison118316
Rankin113719
Neshoba104577
Forrest104343
Lauderdale97281
Scott83115
Jackson80419
Washington75313
Copiah67516
Leake63520
Lee63022
Grenada6259
Oktibbeha62328
Warren60021
Holmes59841
Lamar5847
Wayne56819
Yazoo5667
Lowndes54917
Leflore53956
Lincoln53835
Pike51120
Lafayette5094
Sunflower5058
Panola4616
Monroe46036
Simpson4533
Covington4505
Bolivar41618
Tate39513
Attala38624
Newton37710
Adams36720
Pontotoc3636
Marion34912
Claiborne31511
Pearl River30832
Chickasaw30219
Winston30211
Marshall2973
Jasper2826
Noxubee2799
Walthall2748
Clay26211
Smith25612
Union25612
Coahoma2356
Clarke22825
Lawrence2162
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1974
Montgomery1863
Kemper18414
Carroll18311
Humphreys17410
Calhoun1705
Hancock15213
Itawamba1478
Tippah14711
Jefferson1373
Webster13511
Prentiss1274
Tunica1263
George1253
Jefferson Davis1254
Greene11610
Alcorn1112
Amite1113
Tishomingo1091
Quitman1011
Wilkinson1019
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin572
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
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