Teacher pay raise due after seven years

For years – even decades – advocates of improved teacher pay in Mississippi have made the Southeastern average their salary goal.

It’s a constantly moving target, and Mississippi has never reached it.

Today, the average teacher salary of $41,600 is well below not only the Southeastern average, but $4,500 to $8,500 below states immediately surrounding Mississippi. Our state’s teachers, current and prospective, don’t have to go far to find better-paying employment in the profession. Their last across-the-board pay raise was in 2007.

It’s time to seriously consider another, and for the first time in years, state leaders in a position to do something about it are beginning a discussion.

House Speaker Philip Gunn broached the subject last week with reporters. He noted the steady rise in state revenue after a long recession-related slowdown and said he hoped an across-the-board raise might be feasible in the 2014 legislative session.

Other legislative leaders have echoed Gunn’s comments, saying that a teacher pay raise will at least be an item of discussion in the session that begins Jan. 7.

Daily Journal Editorial