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Arkansas Democrats want to raise salaries for employees and teachers



Little Rock, Arkansas – Democrats in Arkansas have introduced two pieces of legislation to increase staff and teacher salaries.

Tippi McCollough, the House Minority Leader, introduced House Bill 1268, which urged lawmakers to increase the minimum beginning compensation for teachers to $50,000 as well as provide current teachers an immediate $10,000 raise.

Greg Leding, the Senate Minority Leader, presented Senate Bill 149, which asked lawmakers to increase the hourly wage for school employees like bus drivers and cafeteria workers to $15.

Carol Fleming is a teacher and the president of the Arkansas Education Association, and she is all too familiar with the difficulties that educators endure.

“We are always digging deep into our pockets to ensure that we have those extra items for our students,” Fleming explained.

But it has turned out to be expensive. Fleming estimates that the beginning pay for teachers in Arkansas is $36,000 on average.

When you take into account the training and credentials of instructors, she continued, that sum is simply insufficient.

“We say that we are offering world-class education to our students, why aren’t we paying a world-class salary to our educators,” Fleming said.

By introducing the two proposals on Thursday, Arkansas Democrats hoped to change this.

“With a new administration, we promised the teachers we would fight for raises for them,” McCollough explained.

According to her, the state would have to spend $350 million for this, plus an additional $30 million to fund teacher wage increases.

According to McCollough, it’s a risky proposition, but she at least expects to win over Republicans.

“I’m sure that one of their talking points will be that we want to wait to see the Governor’s plan or draft of the bill,” McCollough said.

As of Friday, HB 1268 had not advanced and SB 149 had been submitted to the Senate Education Committee.


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