Educators prepare to head to Little Rock

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2022 at 7:05 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The back and forth about teacher pay and raises continue.

Teachers are making their way to Little Rock.

Educators from across the state, including here in the region, are preparing to make sure their voices are heard at the state level.

They are hoping to address one main topic, teacher pay. Some leaders say it is more than teacher pay that is included in the discussion.

“If we don’t exercise our first amendment right now, then we don’t know down the line whether or not if we will get to,” said Chenoa Summers, candidate for state senate.

Summers is also one of the organizers of the caravan from Jonesboro to Little Rock. She said the caravan is to help teachers express their needs as employees of the state.

“That’s the point of the rally,” said Summers. “So we can make our voices heard and let our representatives and senators know that we care about our teachers, we care about Arkansas’ education.”

Summers said she hopes the rally moves lawmakers to make a decision on teacher pay during the special session.

“There is a lot of energy from educators, teachers, and support staff. We think that this shouldn’t wait till January, it needs to be addressed in this special session,” she said.

Senator Dan Sullivan said there are more moving parts to this discussion, and it will be better to discuss the pay in January.

“Schools that are increasing in enrollment, declining in enrollment those are some of the issues that are coming up. Transportation, how much money is allotted for school and transportation,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan said the full adequacy study would be complete in November, giving legislators time to make a plan on pay and other education funding topics by January.

“After we’ve had a full study adequacy study, which will be completed in January, and get those raises,” he said.

Recently bonuses were recommended for teachers to receive a $5,000 bonus and classified staff to receive a $2,500 bonus. Sullivan said this would help bridge pay until a vote on the discussion in January.

The teacher rally caravan will meet on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Big Lots in Jonesboro.

They encourage all educators to join in and take the journey to Little Rock for the rally.

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