/Senate says it wasn’t in on House teacher pay raise ‘compromise’

Senate says it wasn’t in on House teacher pay raise ‘compromise’

However, Senate leaders stated Thursday that they were not involved in any of the compromises, haven’t had any conversations with House leaders and haven’t reviewed the House proposal. They were puzzled by the fact that House Speaker Philip Gunn held an announcement conference to announce the House offer instead of having House negotiators meet with House conferees. The House’s new offer of $226 million would increase starting teacher salaries to $41,638, which is higher than the $39,754 average in the southeast and $41,163 national averages. House leaders offer a raise that is higher than the original Senate or House proposals. Many political observers believe that the House’s decision to not work with the Senate on Thursday is linked to the ongoing dispute between the Senate and the House over their respective income tax cuts proposals. Gunn recently stated that he is prepared to block any other legislation if the Senate does not agree with his proposal to remove the personal income tax and increase sales taxes. This impasse will result in lawmakers having to end their session without reaching any agreement on major issues. They will have to return to special session this summer for further haggling. Gunn stated that the House was willing to pass a teacher increase regardless of any tax cut agreement. His comments cast doubt on whether the House would be open to any Senate input regarding teacher pay. Gunn stated that he was proud to announce the House’s position on Thursday afternoon’s teacher pay plan at a press conference. “… This is a strong statement of our commitment and a win-win situation for students and teachers,” Gunn stated at a Thursday afternoon press conference. READ MORE: Senate rejects House bill to pass teacher pay increase. A teacher raise was also a priority for the Senate. Senators worked over the summer to create a plan, and Senate leaders still ponder the House’s decision to kill the Senate teacher pay bill. Both the initial House and Senate plans were identical, with both totalling more than $200 million. This would have been the largest teacher raise in Mississippi’s recent history. The differences between the chambers over a teacher raise seem to center on pride in authorship and disagreements over tax cuts. Lt. Gov. Lt. Gov. Three negotiators from each side would normally meet for major conference bills to discuss details and compromise. However, sometimes, the two sides will share signed conference reports in order to expedite smaller issues or negotiate later on. When asked if there was a conference meeting, Sen. Hob Bryan (a Democrat from Amory) replied “No”. “Why would you hold a press conference to go through this all if there hasn’t been a meeting?” Common sense says that if you have an idea and I have an idea, then you go to a meeting and try to work it out. The House’s new proposal would give a $4,850 raise to all Mississippi teachers in the 2022-2023 school years. 92% of teachers will receive a raise at least $4,000, House leaders stated. The bill would allow for yearly increases of pay by at least $400 per year. There would be larger increases of at most $1,000 every fifth year. All teachers who are in their 25th year will receive a $2,500 increase. A $2,000 increase would be granted to assistant teachers. It would also correct a legislative drafting mistake so that nurses, counselors, and other specialists who didn’t receive their national board certification supplements during the 2021-2022 year will receive them retroactively. This would be a one-time payment for most educators of approximately $6,000 READ MORE: Senate vs. House: How does their teacher pay plans compare The Senate’s pay increase proposal was defeated by the House on March 1. After amending the House bill to the Senate version, the Senate passed the House bill reluctantly to preserve a teacher’s raise. Gunn threatened to block other legislation to get leverage over his proposal to remove the income tax and increase sales taxes. Senate leaders and education advocates feared that the teacher raise would be lost in the tax impasse. They also criticised the House for its brinksmanship regarding teacher pay. Both chambers appear to be ready to pass a teacher raise. Original House plan would have raised starting teacher salaries from $37,000 per year to $43,125. The Senate plan would have raised starting pay from $37,000 to $43,125 per year. It also provided $1,325 to $0.624 increases at five-year intervals, as teachers gain experience. While the original House plan was enacted within one year, the Senate proposal will be gradually implemented over two years. The Senate plan provided a $44 million, year-two, across-the-board increase in teacher salaries of $1,000. The Senate plan, which includes teacher assistants and would have cost $230 million over two-years, compared with $220 million for the House’s initial proposal. Gunn, Gunn, and other House leaders criticized the Senate plan for being spread over two consecutive years. They said that this was a political calculation to give part of the raise in the next election year. Hosemann, Gunn, and Gov. All three Tate Reeves promised “significant” teacher increases. Reeves proposed a $3,300 decrease over two years. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach House Education Chairman, was highly applauding the House’s new plan. Bennett stated, “We are proud of it, and I believe that holding out, going on conference about this, will result in us getting more money to teachers, and certainly more in the first year.” Bennett also praised Jansen Owen, Kent McCarty and Kevin Felsher for their work in negotiating a pay increase plan for teachers over a period of more than a decade. Owen stated that the bill’s goal was to address the issue of teachers being recruited and retained. “This compromise does a great job, and is a good first step towards that goal.” Senator Education Chairman Dennis DeBar (R-Leakesville), stated in a Thursday statement that the conference committee had not met due to critical floor deadlines. The Senate conferees will review the House report and analyze the numbers. We expect to be able meet soon and reach an agreement. I want to thank teachers every day for their hard work for our children.