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New plan aims to increase teacher pay by $4000 in Arkansas



Arkansas – Through a plan called Raising Arkansas Investment in Schools and Educators (RAISE) Act, Arkansas House and Senate Democrats are working to increase teacher pay salaries.

According to Andrew Collins, Arkansas State Representative, the plan would call to increase the minimum teacher salary from $36,000 to $42,000 by using $600 million from the $1.6 billion surplus. “We are 48th in teacher pay on an average starting basis, Collins said.” We need to raise that so we can make sure that we are keeping our teachers.”

The plan was created to help all teachers, not just new ones, Collins said. “We also want to give a $4,000 raise to all teachers regardless of where they are in their career,” Collins said. “We would be able to fund a full $4,000 raise for every single teacher.

According to a release from Arkansas House Democrats’, the RAISE Act would call for a Teacher pay Sustainability Fund (TPSF) would be created to allow for immediate and sustainable pay for teachers. The statement said that the availability of other funding streams for teacher pay means that the $600 million in the TPSF would be needed in the short term and as funding streams increase throughout time, no funds would be needed at all.

According to Kristy Mosby, president of the Little Rock Education Association, right now there are so many teachers have to do to not only prepare their classrooms for the upcoming school year but to push for an increase in pay. “Teachers are looking at the special session and wondering, ‘Will they actually add teacher raises or educator wages to the special session’,” Mosby said, “We need the money.”

Mosby said her organization, along with others have been calling legislators to find out where they stand on increasing wages for teachers and educators.

“What we found is that there are a lot of legislators that do, there are very few that don’t,” Mosby said. “We are reaching out to those that are un decided trying to see which side they will land out.”

According to Lamar Advertisement, Dallas Independent School District (DISD) purchased 23 billboards across Arkansas from June 20th to July 17th.

One of the billboards in Little Rock stated that their teacher salary ranged between $60,000-$102,000.

Outreach efforts like the one from DISD are convincing teachers to move to other states, Mosby said. “I know Mississippi has just raised their teacher raises, so we at least need to come up with what past what Mississippi–we need to be competitive,” Mosby said. “We have people around our area, reaching out to our educators, trying to recruit them to their state and we are losing a lot of educators.”

According to Collins, in the future, he and others are working to help increase wages for essential school employees not included in the plan such as bus drivers and custodial workers, and others. “Education affects every single aspect of life in Arkansas,” Collins said. ” “It’s going to help us as far as crime, it’s going to help us as far as economic development, it’s going to help in making Arkansas the kind of state we want it to be.”