Lawmakers approve $1,500 pay boost for Mississippi teachers

by Adrian J. Elliott | Wednesday, Mar 25, 2020 | 301 views

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers on Thursday gave final approval to a $1,500 pay boost for the state’s public school teachers starting July 1, sending it to Gov. Phil Bryant for his approval or veto.
The Senate and House gave speedy approval Thursday to a settlement reached late Wednesday on Senate Bill 2770 via negotiators, turning returned attempts through Democrats too are trying to find a pair of $2,000 pay increases over two years.
The move resolves it considered one of the largest closing dramas of the 2019 legislative consultation because it nears its conclusion. Lawmakers persevered Thursday running on budgets for the upcoming yr that would pay for the improve, which Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, an Oxford Republican, anticipated could value $ fifty-eight million. That’s much less than the $76 million formerly expected.
The boost is higher than the pair of $500 increases over the years that Republican leaders had initially proposed. But Democrats said kingdom revenues are developing, kingdom savings bills are bulging, and the country can have enough money even greater.
“Send the invoice again so we will provide the lecturers the pay boost they deserve,” stated Senate Democratic Minority Leader Derrick Simmons of Greenville. “We’re talking approximately a pay improve that quantity to the touch greater than a Happy Meal.”
But Republicans stated the nation could not manage to pay for the bigger inspiration, bringing up different desires and uncertainty about how the economy will carry out inside the destiny.
“It’s no longer in which we want to be,” House Education Committee Chairman Richard Bennett of Long Beach informed House members. “It’s what we will do.”
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Buck Clarke, a Republican from Hollandale, advised senators that giving a bigger boost to teachers might suggest decreasing spending for different country offerings.
“What would you be willing to reduce, due to the fact there is not anything disregarded at the desk,” Clarke stated. “Everything has been spent, I can guarantee you.”
The Senate and House voted overwhelmingly for the enhance. Nearly all of the combatants in both chambers have been Democrats who stated the raise wasn’t enough.
“I help a trainer pay enhance,” said Simmons, who voted no. “I just don’t assume it’s enough.”
The bill could additionally improve the lengthy-frozen minimal salaries for assistant teachers from $12,500 to $14,000. The Mississippi Department of Education says there are 31,000 classroom instructors and 3,500 assistants statewide. A range of different faculty employees with educator licenses might additionally be included.
House participants have been fighting with Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for days over his preference to growth investment for an application that will pay for unique schooling students to wait for non-public schools.
Bennett said he flatly refused to increase cash that had been sought to clear a waiting list, saying the program is set to expire next yr and that a legislative overview raised questions about its effectiveness.

 


However, the House and Senate later Thursday exceeded $2 million to expand this system, although many warring parties said failed to understand approximately it. The cash changed into blanketed in a list of $27 million in unique tasks in Senate Bill 3049 paid for with surplus cash from ultimate yr’s budget. When senators voted on the bill, the entire textual content of the settlement wasn’t available on-line, and a listing of projects was passed out moments earlier than the vote. House Speaker Philip Gunn tells journalists the money is a “Senate precedence.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Read, a Gautier Republican, said Wednesday that he was taken into consideration the brand new spending plan an “appropriate finances,” in part as it gives raises and will increase a few offerings.
Republican leaders in the House said state employer personnel who’ve gotten no pay increases inside the closing three years would get a three percent boost, despite the fact that Democrats warned that many personnel who’re nonetheless poorly paid might additionally see nothing. Clarke said pay would increase of up to 2 percent might also be supplied to a few university and community college employees.
Spending driven using nation revenue will pass up by using almost 4 percent in the price range yr starting July 1, as robust country sales will bolster no longer simplest pay but some of the different objects. Figures offered to the nation Senate show the nation will spend nearly $6.Four billion inside the coming year, up nearly $three hundred million from where the country began the contemporary yr.
The country will also spend more money to offer clinical, intellectual health and rehabilitation services to people at home, in place of hospitals and nursing houses.
The standard price range might be more than $20 billion consisting of federal cash.

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