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Mississippi House Votes to Quadruple Raise for Teachers

March 19, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

JACKSON, Miss.—The Mississippi House voted March 11 to increase teachers’ pay by $4,000 over the next two years, four times the $500-a-year raises previously approved by the state Senate. Rep. Steve Holland, an independent from the Tupelo area, said he proposed the amendment to the teacher-pay bill after he visited a grandchild’s elementary school and teachers told him, “Are you kidding me, $500 a year?” “So bah humbug on $500 dollars a year,” Holland said on the House floor. “Y’all ought to be ashamed if you vote for it.” The vote was 55-50, with 11 Republicans breaking ranks to support the amendment and eight more not voting. Senate Education Chair Gray Tollison (R-Oxford) told Mississippi Today that the Senate would consider the House proposal, but added that “we have to look at other competing needs.” He said those include a possible raise for other state employees and about $65 million to shore up their pension system. Holland’s bill would also raise the long-frozen salaries of the state’s 3,500 assistant teachers from $12,500 to $13,500. The National Education Association ranks Mississippi teachers’ average salaries the lowest in the nation, at $42,925 in 2016-2017. Read more

March 19, 2019

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