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MDE: Teachers will get state-promised raises

Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, said Wednesday that all teachers and teacher assistants will get the pay raises approved by the Legislature last month.

MDE miscalculated how much state funding would be needed to give Mississippi’s teachers a $1,500 raise. The estimated $58 million price tag for the raise was based on numbers from the Mississippi Student Information System database. But the database mistakenly listed some state-funded special education, gifted and career-technical teaching positions as ineligible for funding. It’s unclear how many teachers were excluded statewide.

MDE is working with school districts to verify the total number of MAEP-funded teachers and teacher assistants to update the cost of the teacher pay raise. Once finalized, MDE will provide this information to lawmakers and work with them to obtain the additional funding for the pay raise, the department said in a press release.

“Let me be clear, all teachers and teacher assistants will receive their well-deserved pay raise,” said Wright. “State-funded teachers will receive their raise with state funds. Federally funded teachers will receive their raise with their district’s federal funds.”

MDE expects to have the total number of state-funded teaching positions and the funding amount finalized by mid-May.

MDE said school districts will be allocated enough money through the current appropriation to cover the monthly cost of the teacher pay raise. Legislative leaders have pledged to approve a deficit appropriation in January to fully fund the pay raise.

Ray Carlock, superintendent of the Brookhaven School District, said it could cost between $80,000-$100,000 to cover the promised raises at his district.

“There is no question that our teachers deserve a raise,” he said. “This partially unfunded mandate has brought a negative aspect to an otherwise good legislative action.”

Carlock said the estimated $80,000-$100,000 covers pay raises for “many teachers across the district in all departments.”