Legislators tackle teacher shortage with loan repayment bill

Updated: Feb. 10, 2021 at 5:46 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WDAM) - Mississippi legislators are tackling the state’s teacher shortage problem.

From the senate passing teacher pay raises, to now, a bill that aims at paying off some student loans for those who want to become educators. The legislature is doing its best to turn education around for the Magnolia state.

Sen. David Blount authored the bill, that if made into law, would be a loan repayment program for future teachers.

“The bill says if you graduate from college and go teach in a Mississippi public school, at the end of one year we will write a check to your loan provider to reduce the amount of money you owe,” Blount said.

And Blount said how much the state pays off can increase.

“If you teach for a second year we will write a bigger check. If you teacher for a third year we will write a bigger check,” Blount said.

There’s also an incentive for future teachers who teach in a critical need district.

“We also have a little bit of a higher amount for the critical needs districts in the state, but every district is eligible under the bill that we passed in the senate and the final amount will be determined as the bill works its way through the process,” Blount said.

Nancy Loome, executive director of Parents’ Campaign, a group helping parents and educators track legislation that affects public schools, said this potential program will help current educators.

“Because of the teacher shortage, our class sizes are too large,” Loome said. “And so even existing teachers will benefit from this, and certainly, students and parents will as districts are better able to fill those teacher slots.”

Blount is hopeful this session will end with the bill being signed into law so the state can get more strong teachers in the classroom.

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