Mississippi educators discuss current teacher pay raise legislation

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 8:56 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The clock is winding down for legislators to come up with a teacher pay raise bill.

The House and Senate are still in negotiations on how much money they’re willing to give them.

Andrea Foster wants to see the state better reward educators for their hard work. She has been teaching for 18 years and says a raise to keep committed teachers in the classroom is a must.

“You need educators to teach anybody anything they want to be in this world, so therefore we deserve more than what we have been getting,” said Foster, President of Vicksburg-Warren Association of Educators.

George Stewart agrees. He is also a teacher and the President of Jackson Association of Educators. While he appreciates the effort from the Senate and House, he hopes they consider that fact that the average salary of an educator in the state lags way behind the national average.

He also wants teacher assistants to get a pay raise.

“We are losing our best and the brightest to our neighboring states, so just take a look at it,” he said. “When you are making a decision on an educator pay raise, think about what can happen not to all our students, but the students in vulnerable communities.”

Jackson Educator Kedra Pope wants to see a teacher pay raise bill that is more front loaded instead of the money being spread out over time.

“$1,200 to $1,500 for two or three years is really a slap on the wrist and a slap in the face,” she said. “If you really wanted to make a serious and significant impact, truth be told, the raise shouldn’t be any less than $7,500-$10,000.”

These passionate teachers say they will continue to reach out to their state lawmakers to make sure their voices are heard.

“We want the good things to come out of the bill that the Senate proposed at one point, as well as the good things the House has proposed,” said Stewart.

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