Saturday, January 26, 2008

Crowell promotes pay hike for Missouri teachers

Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, has introduced a bill which would increase the minimum salary for Missouri teachers. He promoted the bill in his latest column, The Crowell Connection, which is reprinted below:

Ensuring that Missouri’s children are able to receive a world class education is my highest priority. This session I will continue to pursue this by sponsoring legislation to improve the compensation for Missouri teachers. Educators are the backbone of any school. They are the ones teaching our students the lessons that will benefit them in the future. We need to make sure that Missouri is taking care of its teachers, and we can do that by raising teacher’s salaries.

The plan I am sponsoring in the Missouri Senate will increase the minimum starting teacher salary — currently $23,000 to $31,000. The pay plan would also set minimum salaries for more experienced teachers ranging up to $46,000. According to a report released in December only eight states pay public school teachers less than Missouri's average salary. This ranking of 44th in the nation when it comes to teacher pay is unacceptable and does not reflect our shared value of education.

Throughout the state, beginning teachers in some districts find themselves working two jobs or struggling to make ends meet for their families. In fact, more than 400 of Missouri's 524 public school districts would raise salaries under this proposal. In order to implement the new pay scale, the state will fully fund the increases. Early estimates show that my proposal will inject approximately $50 million into Missouri’s economy.

This proposal will benefit the teachers and students of Southeast Missouri. In Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Mississippi, Perry and Scott counties there are approximately 568 teachers who would receive better compensation from this proposal. Our community will benefit from the additional $1.6 million that would be brought into our economy.

We need to make sure that exceptional teachers aren’t forced out of school districts due to low pay. Students in Missouri deserve a world class education, and we need to make sure they get it. By fairly paying Missouri teachers we are letting them know that Missouri values their hard work.

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