Missouri governor asks for temporary raise in teacher pay for second-straight year

Rural school districts in the Ozarks say this would be “extremely beneficial”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers the State of the State address Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in...
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson delivers the State of the State address Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 9:52 PM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Teacher pay in Missouri ranks among the lowest in the country. Governor Parson proposes to change that.

It’s the second-straight year pay would be temporarily boosted through a career ladder and grant program. The teacher baseline salary grant program raised baseline teacher pay from $25,000 to $38,000 last year. That proposal even got a standing ovation clap from the Democrats.

Democratic State Representative Besty Fogle says it’s a great first step to recruiting and retaining teachers.

”I’m hoping we can come back to the table and talk about how to build on that to recruit and retain more teachers in Missouri,” said Betsy Fogle. ”I think it starts with pay. Just like any family, working parents are going to make the decisions that are in their best economic interests, and that means being a competitive workforce.”

During the state of the state address, Governor Parson said he wants more money to go toward the career ladder program, which also helps increase pay.

“This year, we’re again funding the program with an additional $32 million to continue the state’s part to benefiting more teachers,” said Gov. Parson.

“Something that we need to be very cognizant of is making sure that we’re not making temporary decisions on an economy that might not be there in five to ten years,” said State Rep. Fogle. “I think that’s one of the main reasons the governor has chosen to list this as one-time funding.”

For small rural school districts, programs like these are extremely beneficial for staffing.

”We had a position that used to get 300 applicants, and we got three last year,” said Halfway schools Superintendent Lance Roweton.

Supt. Roweton says raises would help small districts compete with larger ones.

”I think that our starting pay at 38,000 would be comparable to a large school,” said Roweton. “For as long as it lasts, I think that we could get teachers right out of college that maybe we couldn’t have gotten before.”

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