(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis - Oct 31, 2015)

SB 2444 passed without a single vote by the chamber’s Black Caucus as they walked off the floor following debate on an anti-CRT.

On Friday, the Mississippi Senate passed SB 2444, a $210 million plan aimed at raising teacher pay.

The 35-0 vote came after the chamber’s Black Caucus walked off the floor prior to a vote on a bill to ensure the ideas of Critical Race Theory were not being taught in Mississippi classrooms. The group of lawmakers did not return to the chamber to cast their votes on the teacher pay bill either.

There was no debate on the teacher pay raise plan, as members present in the chamber moved quickly to finalize the day’s work on the floor.

Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann released a statement following the vote thanking Senate Education Chairman Dennis DeBar for his work.

“Teachers open the gates of the minds of our future,” Lt. Governor Hosemann said in a statement. “I am thankful for the work of Chairman DeBar in listening to teachers to devise a pay system that begins the long necessary journey to monetarily rewarding their efforts.”

Senator DeBar spoke with Y’all Politics following the vote. He thanked the Education and Appropriations in the Senate, and expressed his appreciation to teachers for making their voice heard.

Last week, State Rep. Richard Bennett, Chairman of the House Education Committee, presented his $219 million proposal to address a teacher pay raise. HB 530 sailed through the House also will little discussion, gaining a 114-6 vote of approval.

The Senate version would move starting teacher pay to $40,000. The House bill trumps that by $3,000.

Under the Senate’s proposal, a Class A teacher with a baccalaureate degree would start at $40,000. Teachers would receive $500 step increases at most every year, including in the first three years of teaching.

At five-year marks in a teacher’s career up to Year 25, teachers would receive a larger increase based on their certification:

  • Class A teachers (baccalaureate) would receive $1,325
  • Class AA teachers (master’s degree) would receive $1,425
  • Class AAA (specialist) would receive $1,525
  • Class AAAA (doctoral) would receive $1,625

“The current salary schedule results in backloading pay and this makes it difficult for us to ever be competitive with our surrounding states,” Senator DeBar said earlier this month. “This structure, the pieces of which were recommended by Mississippi classroom teachers, will result in a more equitable distribution across a teacher’s career and higher salaries in mid years when it is likely a teacher has a family to consider.”

After the Senate’s teacher pay raise bill passed, several Senators asked to be added as co-authors on the bill. Senator DeBar asked for immediate release of the bill, sending it to the House for consideration.

With both chambers passing their own versions of a teacher pay raise plan, the issue is likely to end up in conference in the weeks ahead as the session continues.