Mississippi House Democratic Caucus Press Release

Today a teacher bill passed the Education and Appropriations Committee which would become effective January 2015.

A teacher must meet 3 of 22 benchmarks in order to qualify for a pay increase. The bill calls for teachers to be compensated under a benchmark program that calls for such things as the teacher gaining membership in the Rotary, Kiwanis or other club’s education committee. Specifically excluded by language in the bill is the teacher having membership in a teacher organization as a benchmark.

The pay increase calls for general fund revenue estimates to reflect a growth of three percent or more in July 2016. Teachers with less than 5 years’ experience will be able to get automatic pay increases but will lose all 4 years of pay increases if they do not meet benchmarks in the sixth year. Teachers with more than 5 years’ experience will have to meet benchmarks in order to get the pay increase after an initial $1,500 increase over two years. The most pay raise any teacher could attain is $4,250.00 by 2018.

“The pay raise appears to be $500.00 beginning in January, 2015 with an additional $1,000.00 the next year. Thereafter, it seems the pay increases are tied to benchmarks, or merit pay, contingent upon completion of the benchmarks and growth in general fund revenues. The State Board of Education will establish a state standard rubric for compensating teachers. I doubt this is what teachers have been working for during the last seven years since they have seen a raise. Finding more ways to play hide-and-seek with pay increases is the wrong way to treat teachers our children are entrusted to each school day.”