Mississippi House votes to give every teacher a raise, but there’s no money to fund it

The Mississippi House voted Monday to give every teacher a $5,000 pay raise starting July 1, but educators shouldn’t plan on that extra cash because the proposal has zero chance of surviving.
“We don’t have the money,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson said after the vote.

The pay raise proposal came through an amendment to House Bill 890, which is meant to strengthen the teaching of reading in kindergarten through third grade. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant calls the bill “Education Works.” In its original form, the bill included a limited program for merit pay: Teachers in four districts, initially, could receive higher salaries if their students show significant academic improvement.

Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, said Mississippi has some of the lowest teacher pay in the nation, at about $41,000 a year. He said a $5,000 across-the-board pay raise would be a good way to attract and retain good teachers.