The Mississippi Senate passed the teacher pay raise deficit bill on Friday. This bill will make up for the $18.4 in lack of appropriated funds from the teacher pay raise of 2019. The mishap came due to some incorrect coding by MDE.
The bill will now head to the Governor for approval.
After passage in the House, the Senate took up HB 1 in the Senate Appropriations Committee where it was passed under Chairman Hopson. The bill will now head to the Senate floor where it could be taken up as early as Thursday.
Wasting no time, the Mississippi House of Representatives Appropriations Committee passed HB 1, the teacher pay raise deficit bill. The bill covers the amount needed to ensure all Mississippi teachers received the $1,500 raise appropriated during the 2019 Legislative Session.
The bill was brought up by Rep. Richard Bennett who explained that due to some coding issues the legislature was short just over $18.4 million in last years raise. The issue was a combination of improper coding from the Mississippi Department of Education as well as teachers listed under the wrong codes within school districts.
The money is set to come out of the General Fund and budgeted into the current fiscal year.
The pay raise went into effect July 1 and Bennett said MDE had the funds to sustain all teachers until April of 2020. This deficit amount will now make the raise “whole” for all teachers and teacher aids throughout the system.
This is the first time Legislature separated out the pay raises which brought the issue to light. Administrators informed them that they were not receiving enough funds for the teachers they employed. The coding problem was then found and corrected, and Bennett said it should be rectified for the future as well.
“They were right, in the past years we were underfunding them by $15 to $20 million every time we gave a teacher pay raise. This is the first time they will remain whole on the teacher pay raises,” said Bennett. “Some of it was their fault too because they had the teachers coded wrong.”
The bill passed the committee unanimously and now heads to the House floor.