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$1,000 Teacher pay raise bill headed to...

$1,000 Teacher pay raise bill headed to Governor’s desk

By: Sarah Ulmer - March 19, 2021

The Mississippi Legislature has officially concurred on a teacher pay raise for 2021. HB 852 was sent back to the House this week after moving through the Senate when the House did not pass the Senate’s version, SB 2001.

“For two consecutive years, the Senate has sent a pay raise to the House for consideration, so we are grateful this bill is on its way to the Governor for final approval,” said Chairman of Education Senator DeBar. “Our teachers have gone the extra mile this year, often teaching virtually and in-person simultaneously, to serve Mississippi students and their families during the pandemic. They deserve a pay raise, and they deserve our respect. We appreciate all they do for our state.”

RELATED: Senate puts politics aside to pass teacher pay raise bill, says Education Chairman

The bill appropriated $1,000 for teachers and $1,100 for assistant teachers across the state. The bill would bring base pay for teachers to $37,000, which is just shy of the Southeastern average at $38,420 and cost the state roughly $51 million.

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann was adamant about passing an additional teacher pay raise this year. It was his highest priority heading into the 2021 session. SB 2001 was one of the first measures in the Senate to be filed and moved from committee to the floor for passage with haste.

The bills were nearly dead on the March 2 deadline when both chambers did not bring the opposite chamber’s bills up in committee. Nearing the end of the day, the Senate called two meetings, Education and Appropriations, and moved to pass the House bill on the matter.

At that time, DeBar insinuated that the move to not pass the Senate’s bill in the House was a political game.

“We are going to ensure we put teachers over politics. We are going to make sure that the livelihoods of our educators are not toyed with and that we as the Senate ensure our educators are paid well for the work that they do, especially during the trying times we are in,” said DeBar.

The House also attempted to add the teacher pay raise language to another bill this year, The Mississippi Tax Freedom Act. HB 1439 was authored by Speaker Philip Gunn and has been a hot button issue for members over a phase out of the income tax. In this bill he also included a $1,000 teacher pay raise.

The bill died in the Senate Finance committee, but the language was re-added as an amendment to a bond bill in the House. However, Speaker Gunn indicated on social media Thursday that he assumes that language will not make it out of committee either.

The bill is now headed to Governor Tate Reeves where it is expected that he will sign it into law.  Reeves called for the raise in his State of the State address earlier this year.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state.