/Mississippi’s largest teacher pay raise It is, according to how ‘largest’ is defined

Mississippi’s largest teacher pay raise It is, according to how ‘largest’ is defined

On social media, the governor declared that “the largest teacher and assistant teacher raises in Mississippi history are now law.” People often lose their perspective and get caught up in the moment when they declare something to be the greatest, biggest, or most important in history. In dollars terms, the proposed 2022 legislative session was the biggest single-year pay increase for Mississippi’s kindergarten-12th grade teachers. There are many nuances to the claim that the “largest state history” pay raise was achieved. Despite the state’s reputation for low teacher salaries, there have been substantial salary increases for Mississippi’s kindergarten-12th grade teachers throughout the state’s history. This session’s pay increase provides teachers an average $5,140 raise, which is $246 million per year. Ray Mabus, former governor of the state and U.S. Navy secretary from 1988 to 1992, stated on social media that he didn’t see how this year’s pay increase could be the biggest in state history. In 1988, we passed an average pay increase of $4,400. Mabus stated on social media that the biggest raise would need to be $10,000 or more, adjusted for inflation. According to the Associated Press the 1988 legislation raised teacher pay by 18%, compared to more that 10% for the current raise. At the request of the then-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove was the legislator who approved a multiyear, $338million pay increase that was fully implemented in 2005. According to the New York Times’ 2000s reporting, the raise raised teacher salaries from $31,892 per annum to $41,445, or a 30% increase. The Legislature was established under the then-Gov in 1997. Kirk Fordice approved a three year raise that averaged $1,297 over the three years. The 2014 session saw Republicans control both chambers. In that first term, the Legislature approved a $2,500 raise. This was followed by a $1500 increase in 2019, and a roughly $1,000 increase in 2021. It is important to note that the pay increases in 2000 and 1988 were at least as substantial as the current year’s effort by Mississippi lawmakers. This is not meant to downplay or minimize the efforts of the current Legislature. The legislators are to be commended. The fact is, the Legislature will most likely pass another increase that can be called the greatest in history in the next few years. Nearly every year, legislators boast that they have earmarked the most funds in history for education. They don’t add that they have also approved the state’s largest overall budget. This is the result of inflation. Inflation drives up costs just like it does in the private sector. Corey Miller, the State Economist, stated recently that wages and salaries grew 7.2% in 2021. It would be surprising that the Legislature didn’t pass the biggest state pay increase in history, given recent wage growth and inflation. It could also be questioned why the Legislature took so long to approve a major proposal for teachers after the 2000 watershed pay increase. Since 2000, nearly every politician has talked about the importance of education and the contributions of teachers to the state. This year’s historic, significant raise is not enough to prove that commitment. But it will be what happens in the future. Reeves, most legislators and others said that this year’s raise in pay was just the beginning of the state’s commitment to public education. Dennis DeBar (R-Leakesville), Senate Education Chair, said, “We want this to continue.” If it happens, that continuation could be historic. However, at some point that commitment will also have to include more funding than what legislators continue budgeting for other aspects of public school. Schools’ fuel costs, utilities, and other expenses are also increasing.