Lawmakers discuss teacher compensation plans with Mississippi educators
Mississippi lawmakers are working on a bill that would allow the state to continue raising teacher salaries in the next legislative session in 2022, and leaders are discussing their thoughts with the public through a series of sessions to ‘listen.
Senator Dennis Debar of Leakesville chairs the Senate Education Committee. He says Mississippi has relatively higher salaries for teachers approaching retirement, but teachers entering the profession have below-average salaries.
“And so, when we do a pay raise, we should try to take the expected wages,” DeBar says. “Not only will this help retain our teachers or try to get students to actually enter college of education to become teachers, but it will overall help alleviate our severe shortage of teachers statewide.”
Teachers and school leaders attended the meeting in person and virtually, and a member of the audience asked how the state could increase teachers’ salaries while eliminating state income tax .
There has been growing support for his removal among Tory lawmakers, primarily Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn and Governor Tate Reeves. However, DeBar says he doesn’t know how the elimination of income tax might affect the ability to raise teachers’ salaries.
“I am concerned about the elimination of a third of our state budget and the lack of security or relief. We just need to cut $ 2 billion from our budget and not have a safeguard of where that money will come from, ”Debar said. I mean, some of the economists say it can be replaced and so on and that might be correct, but I just don’t know.
The final listening session will take place next month in Madison.