Arkansas teachers sit in on legislative meeting amid fight for pay increases
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK/KAIT) – Arkansas teachers continue to fight for higher pay.
On the morning of Thursday, July 21, a group of educators gathered at the state capitol, demanding a discussion about pay increases to be included in the upcoming special session.
“Why are we here? Why do we continue to have to fight for teachers?” asked Central High School teacher Kimberly Crutchfield.
The group sat in on the Arkansas Legislative Council’s meeting, and as the meeting pressed on, a discussion about teacher bonuses came to the floor.
According to content partner KARK, state lawmakers voted with a 2/3 majority on a recommendation to award teachers with $5,000 one-time bonuses.
Some representatives saw the move as a step toward higher pay for teachers, but others said they saw it as a diversion.
“A ‘right-now bonus’ is not the same as right pay for teachers,” said Little Rock teacher Leron McAdoo.
“I don’t expect to make $120,000, but I expect to be able to pay my car bill and to live in a nice, safe area,” Crutchfield added.
Crutchfield began teaching 23 years ago. She said her first paycheck was $600.
“I had to drop my insurance until I go up to a step where I could afford the insurance,” she said.
Crutchfield said she began advocating for higher pay shortly after that.
More than two decades later, she’s still fighting the same fight.
“We knew we weren’t going to be millionaires, but we didn’t think we would have to go on public assistance either,” she said.
The group of teachers said it’s a fight they won’t give up on until it makes it to the Capitol.
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