/House ups ante on teacher pay, ‘Snuffy Smith’ would be pleased

House ups ante on teacher pay, ‘Snuffy Smith’ would be pleased

Over the objections from the House leaders, Rep. Steve Holland, Plantersville, offered an amendment to increase the salary raise from $1,000 over two year to $4,000 If the increase is cut in the final budget agreement, House members will be able to go home and campaign for reelection. They can also tell teachers that they voted to give the higher salary, but the Senate leaders won’t agree to it. It is possible and even probable that the Lieutenant Governor. Tate Reeves, his Senate leadership will also try to offer a larger pay increase than the initial proposal of $1,000 over two years. There is precedent for one chamber fearing being outdone by the other when it comes to teacher pay increases. One could argue that the approval of the largest teacher pay increase in state history was due to fear from the other chamber during the 2000 legislative session. Then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove had campaigned for a multi-year increase in teacher salaries. In 2000, the Senate and House leaders agreed that the state couldn’t afford to address the expensive teacher pay increase. It looked dead for the session, when then-House Ways and Means Chairman Billy McCoy (D-Rienzi) revived the proposal to raise the teacher pay. He answered a reporter’s question at the end of each day by saying that “Time’s not a waste” for the raise. Smith, an Appalachian cartoon character of hillbilly hillbillies, was the source of his quote. Over the weekend, McCoy supported a pay increase that year. Apparently, Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck and her leadership team believed McCoy’s comment meant that House leaders were ready to endorse a raise. This left the Senate as the only remaining member. Tuck and her team of leaders decided that they had to support the salary increase. Tuck hosted a news conference on Monday to announce a multi-year plan for raising teacher salaries to the Southeastern average. Baldwyn’s former Speaker of the House Tim Ford was returning from Montgomery when he was blindsided by Tuck’s announcement. The pay increase was approved by the legislature after McCoy’s remarks and Tuck’s news conference. Although the package, which was nearly $340 million in value, provided a substantial boost to teachers’ salaries over five years but did not reach the Southeastern average as other states were also offering salary increases during that time-in. Everyone seems to support a teacher raise this session. It is not clear how much. It is possible that the final result will not amount to a $4,000 raise. The Holland amendment is likely to result in a pay raise that is greater than the original proposal of $1,000 by Senate and House leaders. Problem is, Speaker Philip Gunn and many other legislators insist that teachers should be paid more. House and Senate leaders were either lucky or clever in being able to receive a small amount of additional revenue during an election year. After enduring slow revenue collections and cuts in state budgets for most of the four-year term, they are now in this position. It is now up to the state and teachers to decide how much of those additional funds will be used for a pay increase. The House’s action last week has placed pressure on the Senate to give teachers a substantial pay increase.