Missouri education administrators state they intend to increase teachers’ pay but also offer raises and bring them to places that are challenging to fill.
According to data from the National Education Association, the state currently has one of the poorest teacher compensations in the country, standing at 40th rank with the average salary of $48,000
But a new plan could put Missouri to 26th place with an average salary of about $54,000.
Paul Katnik, an assistant education commissioner at the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said that “It’s just essential to emphasize this just kind of catches us up.”
Katnik showed a nearly $400 million project to the State Board of Education during its December monthly meeting. The three-part proposal calls for raising the base pay for teachers from $25,000 to $32,000, allowing teachers a $4,000 increase and creating a fund to attract teachers into taking on hard-to-fill positions. The fund would allot $75 million to hire teachers to work in high-poverty or rural schools or teaching subjects such as high school science or English as secondary language classes for immigrants.
Education administrators, teachers, and education associations composed the plan.
A May survey by DESE decided that low pay is the biggest reason that pushes teachers to leave the classroom, sources reported.
Bruce Moe, the executive director of the Missouri State Teachers Association, a union representing rural and suburban teachers, said that “We are losing teachers in the field because of pay, and we are noticing it more and more challenging to recruit teachers into the profession because of pay.”
Last month, Republican Rep. Chuck Basye, from Columbia, was elected chairperson of the state’s House education committee.
Basye said that “I do consider our teachers deserve to be paid a few better. We desire to be competitive; we require the best possible teachers we can get.”
The legislative director for the Missouri chapter of the National Education Association, Mark Jones, said that funding the change is possible if the Legislature approved it.
“We find funds for large corporations. This profits everyone. There’s a necessity to have this conversation,” Jones said.