The Legislature passed the largest teacher pay raise in the state’s history in 2022 while also increasing the funds given to each teacher for classroom needs.
In the 2022 Legislative session, both the Mississippi House and the Senate prioritized teachers and the classroom. Lawmakers showed their commitment to improving Mississippi’s schools by providing the largest teacher pay raise in the state’s history and increasing the amount of money the state gives teachers to make their classrooms a top-notch learning environment.
Coming out early in session were two options for a teacher pay raise. The one that won out was the START Act, or Strategically Accelerating the Recruitment and Retention of Teachers. This is otherwise known as the teacher pay raise bill.
The START Act increased the minimum teacher salary scale, putting Mississippi’s teachers above both the Southeastern and national starting averages. Most teachers will receive over $5,000 in a raise and assistant teachers will see roughly $2,000.
The raise went into effect on July 1, 2022, and was retroactively instated to July 1, 2021.
The pay raise, which in total cost the state $246 million, brought a Class A teacher with a baccalaureate degree to $41,500 in starting pay. Teachers then receive a step increase up to $600 annually, including the first three years of teaching. At every five-year mark, up to 20 years, a teacher would receive a larger increase up to $1,350 based on their certification. At year 25, that amount rise to $2,500.
These base numbers provided by the bill do not include any incentives or supplemental pay provided by districts or other state programs.
With the raises, the Legislature also made it possible for districts to pay teachers on a bi-weekly basis instead of a single monthly paycheck. Before the passage of SB 2424, Mississippi teachers were only paid once a month. The bill does not require districts to do this, however; it merely allows for the opportunity.
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With the raise for teachers and assistant teachers, the Legislature also increased the amount of money teachers receive in purchasing school supplies and other items for their classrooms.
SB 2422, the Education Enhancement Fund, increased the amount of money teachers are given to do just that. The bill also makes it easier to access the funds with digital options for distribution as well as the usual physical card they are given each year.
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Teachers were given access to these classroom funds before August 1, allowing ample time to prepare for students returning. These funds cannot be used for administrative costs but rather they are directed to the classroom.
Each public school teacher across the state received $743 this year as part of the EEF program.
Many school districts around the state are preparing to return to the classroom this week, with students reporting as early as later this week.