LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - In June, the Lamar County Board of Education voted in favor of a $200 supplement for teachers and a $1,500 supplement for lead principals and an additional $1,000 supplement for principals of schools with more than 800 students.
“The state sets the teachers’ salaries, so we can’t change that,” said Lamar County Superintendent Tess Smith. "We use supplement dollars to make those adjustments.”
This is the first time for the Lamar County School District to raise its teacher supplement since 2011 when it was cut dramatically due to budget issues.
The teacher supplement is still $250 lower than in 2011, even with the $200 increase.
“Paying this back to our teachers has been a commitment of the school board,” said Smith. “They are fully committed. I hope that with the 200 dollars this year, maybe next year we can find some additional funds and be able to complete that reinstatement of those funds."
Smith said it’s not easy getting the additional funds needed for teacher supplements, it took a lot of budgeting and time, but she’s glad the board is doing what it can to get back on track.
"If you want to buy a new car and you figure, okay I can pay 300 dollars a month,” said Smith. “Well, can you do that for the next 3-5 years until you get that car paid off? That's the way we must think about it here. If we have additional funds this year, are we going to be able to have those same funds next year to be able to sustain the increase, because we don't want to have to pull any money back."
There are more than 700 teachers in the Lamar County School District.