The following statement is issued by House Democratic Caucus Chair David Baria in opposition of weak teacher and teacher assistant pay increase provisions as contained in House Bill 1349.

“The House Democratic Caucus opposes the proposed teacher and teacher assistant pay increases as contained in House Bill 1349, which is expected to be brought before the House of Representatives for a vote.

“The bill’s proposed $2,000 across-the-board raise for teachers spread over two years is an insulting, election year overture to individuals who are the most underpaid educators in the Southeast. Further, the $1,000 pay raise proposed for teacher assistants is equally inadequate. Mississippi is in the throes of a teacher shortage crisis, and this anemic offer is hardly an enticement for degreed professionals or assistants to either join the depleted ranks or continue to work under these conditions.

“Specifically, House Caucus members previously joined with our colleagues in the Senate to recommend the following as beginning solutions to the teacher shortage, which we believe is directly attributable to low pay and the disrespect evidenced by it:

  • Set starting teacher salary at $40,000.
  • Provide a rural teacher tax credit program to attract teachers to rural school districts by providing educators with a tax credit of up to $5,000.
  • Increase teacher assistants’ salary by $3,000

“We will be urging that the full House consider and approve appropriate amendments to ensure that our educators are paid commiserate with their education, experience and value to Mississippi.”

House Democratic Caucus Press Release