State teachers union reacts to passage of the long awaited teacher pay raise bill

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A huge sigh of relief from state educators after the House and Senate finally signed off on pay raises.

The head of the state’s teachers union shared thoughts on the milestone and what it means for students and the future of education in the state.

When Mississippi teachers return to the classrooms in the fall, one less stressor will be how they will manage amid rising inflation. Both legislative chambers approved House Bill 520, providing classroom teachers with an average pay increase of $5,100. Classroom assistants will receive an additional $2,000.

“We were excited to watch that vote happen knowing that we were one step closer to making this a reality,” said Antonio Castanon Luna.

The Mississippi Association of Educators executive director said the state has finally made an investment in teachers, students and the future economy.

“Many MAE members have to have second and third jobs to make ends meet,” said Castanon Luna. “This salary increase is an important support to ensure that folks don’t have to spread themselves too thin and can remain in the education profession.”

The teachers union represents more than 8,000 educators. Officials credit its membership and the more than 100 educators who spent the past week at the Capitol meeting with lawmakers.

“This has been years coming and it’s because of the strong advocacy of educators all across the state,” added Castanon Luna. “We see this as an investment in our future and in the present of Mississippi.”

The bill awaits Governor Tate Reeves’ signature. He has indicated that he supports increasing teacher pay to attract and retain classroom professionals. If approved the pay raises take effect in July.

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