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Musgrove praises special session on teacher pay

By Staff
TEACHER PAY Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is joined by students at Crestwood Elementary School on Tuesday as he talks to parents and students about the Monday special legislative session on teacher pay. Pictured from left to right with Musgrove are fourth-grader Jake Magnusson, fourth-grader Ivey Burt, third-grader Maddie Covert and kindergartner Claire McCraw. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
July 25, 2001
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove praised legislators Tuesday for an historic special session in which they removed restrictions from a five-year public school teacher pay raise.
Musgrove touted the pay package at a news conference at Crestwood Elementary School in Meridian, part of a tour that took the governor to Tupelo and Byhalia. Legislators removed pay raise restrictions in a special session Monday.
Last year, state lawmakers passed a five-year plan to gradually raise Mississippi public school teacher salaries to the projected Southeastern average of about $41,000 by the 2005-2006 school year.
That proposal included a provision saying teachers would receive the raises only if the state had at least 5 percent growth each year.
On Monday, legislators removed the 5 percent trigger, ensuring automatic raises for the next five years starting with the 2001-2002 school year.
Musgrove called the legislative action historic because he said Mississippi will move from 49th to 19th in the nation with teacher pay. State Rep. Charles Young, D-Meridian, and state Sen. Videt Carmichael, D-Meridian, joined the governor at the news conference
Young said that he thinks "all elected officials in the state are concerned about teachers. We have to support whatever we can to make sure we get up to the level we want."
Some legislators have said the teacher pay issue could have waited until the 2002 Legislature in January or another special session later this year on congressional redistricting. Musgrove, though, disagreed, saying the session expense averaged out to about $1.50 per teacher.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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