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Senate passes $1,000 teacher raise, seeks to pay as bonus

JACKSON (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers are advancing a plan to raise public school teacher salaries by $500 a year over two years.

The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to advance Senate Bill 2770. It moves to the House for more work, and representatives are working on their own version.

Senators amended the proposal to pay the raise to teachers at one time as a bonus. Republican Sen. David Parker of Olive Branch and Democratic Sen. Angela Turner Ford of West Point argued teachers would appreciate the money more in one lump sum and would think more fondly of lawmakers.

Democrats have been deriding the pay plan as too small, but Senate President Pro Tem Gray Tollison, an Oxford Republican, says that’s what the state can afford considering the state’s other needs.