Public school teachers would gain pay bumps ranging from $4,000 to $6,000 under a plan Mississippi House lawmakers overwhelmingly approved Wednesday afternoon. The legislation, known as the Strategically Accelerating the Recruitment And Retention Of Teachers (START) Act, passed on a vote of 114-to-6.
Starting pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree would increase from the current level of $37,000 to $43,125—higher than the southeast regional average of $39,897 and the nation average of $41,163. Mississippi currently ranks last nationwide and in the region for teacher pay. The bill also includes $2,000 raises for teacher’s assistants, who currently earn just $15,000 a year.
The bill will still have to earn approval in the Mississippi Senate and the governor’s signature to become law. The Senate has proposed a separate plan with smaller upfront raises but which incorporates significant increases over time.