Missouri’s education department announced it plans on proposing a salary increase for teachers through the state by using the state’s surplus to fund the proposal.
Fox 2 News in Missouri reported the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) asked the state legislature to consider their proposal because the state is sitting on a billion-dollar surplus.
DESE Commissioner Margie Vandeven said that reasons behind the department’s proposal is to make Missouri’s teacher salaries competitive with the rest of the country. “Teachers do not work for the money, but they have to have a sustainable wage,” she said, “No other industry would be satisfied if 50% of the profession was leaving within the first five years.”
Currently, due to state law, the minimum salary for teachers is $25,000 and is the lowest starting teacher pay in the United States. DESE added that about 8,000 teachers make less than $35,000 a year. Because of these constraints, DESE estimated the salary issues have led to over 3,000 vacation positions in state schools.
The proposal comes after Republican Gov. Mike Parson approved an increase in minimum teacher pay up to $38,000 a year, which legislation allows the state to pay for 70% of the salary while the remaining 30% is paid by the school districts. Districts must opt into the program, which 350 schools chose to do so, and the state funding expires after one year.
But DESE said that the issues about low teacher salary will not go away until the state legislature changes the state law on salary minimums for teachers.
Yet DESE did not acknowledge that one way to save money and fund teacher salaries is to slash school administrator and education bureaucrats’ pay. Education bureaucracy has exploded in recent decades and their salaries often go ignored and untouched during teacher salary discussions.