Arkansas teachers waiting to hear more about education plan

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 6:37 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Educators across the state are waiting to hear more about Governor Sarah Huckabee-Sanders ‘Arkansas Learns’ plan.

Teacher pay has been a hot-button topic over the last few months in the state.

Governor Sarah Huckabee-Sanders’ said education would be the hallmark of her administration.

Her new education plan could include substantial raises for teachers.

Lawrence County School District Superintendent Terry Belcher explained he wants to see the entire plan.

“We’re all anxious about it,” he said. “From salary increases to the fair dismissal act to changing the co-op board. It’s all speculative. We don’t know the rules and regs with it.”

One potential part of the plan includes bringing all teacher pay to the $50,000 mark, regardless of education or experience.

Cave City School District Superintendent Steve Green said the pay increase could be an issue.

“You’re going to see some older teachers that they’re not going to be compensated for their experience, but I think a lot of superintendents like me are going to take a very cautious approach because this is a recurring cost,” he said.

Angela Cooley, an educator at the Math and Science Magnet School in Jonesboro, is mixed on the plan.

“There are some really great aspects involved in that plan. I’m excited to see how the rest of it rolls out. I’ve also seen some things that concern me a little bit,” she said.

Her issues include the instances of seniority and higher education than other teachers have and still receiving the same amount of pay.

“At my district, I’m currently paid more because I have a higher education, so for somebody that is starting out, their pay will be different than mine. But with this new plan, it is talking about no longer increasing for years of experience or for those master’s degrees. So that is a little concerning to people who are more tenure,” she said.

As the plan has many moving parts, it is subject to change.