Teacher pay: 1st year permanent'
By By Buddy Bynum/The Meridian Star
May 14, 2001
The first year of a teacher pay raise is "permanent" and suggestions to the contrary are "scare tactics," state Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, said Sunday.
Responding to criticism from teachers unions and Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Snowden made the comments in a detailed explanation of the legislative action that raised the average pay of teachers by about 2 percent this year.
The raise is part of a five-year plan to raise Mississippi teachers' salaries to the Southeastern average by the 2005-06 school year. The controversy resulted because, on advice of the state Department of Education, many teachers renewing their contracts for next year are being advised the raise is a one-time "bonus"
Snowden said money was technically appropriated as a supplement due to issues arising from the fact the state's economy had not grown enough to trigger an automatic increase.
The raise will give most teachers a $500 raise for the 2001-02 school year, $1,000 if they've had more than 25 years service.
While the next pay raises are planned they would raise pay by 20 percent by fiscal year 2006 money has not been appropriated.
Even so, Snowden said the state is "still on target" to get to the Southeastern average as it is projected by then.
Snowden said he believed the Legislature, "despite the skepticism of many, maybe most, teachers, this is a definite priority of the Legislature. It may not happen, but I really believe it will unless the economy just collapses not something anyone expects."
Snowden said he intended to vote for the yearly increments, if the money is available, but would oppose any effort to raise taxes "for this or any other purpose."
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3213, or e-mail him at email@example.com.