Conferees from the House and Senate met this morning for the first official conference committee meeting for House Bill 530. Though the meeting ended without a final deal, there may finally be a teacher pay raise proposal that both chambers can agree on.
House Bill 530
We created a quick reference guide about the details of the final pay plan, including the full pay schedule.
How did we get here?
HB 530—the only teacher pay raise bill that remains alive in the legislature—has ping-ponged between the House and Senate, with both chambers eager to insert their own proposed salary schedules into the final bill. On March 3, the House voted to invite conference on the bill, setting up a process in which each chamber names three conferees who are tasked with working out differences with the opposite chamber and negotiating a compromise bill.
Last week, the House announced at a press conference a compromise proposal featuring key aspects of both the House plan (a pay raise for teacher assistants and an immediate phase-in of raises for the 2022-2023 school year) and the Senate plan (immediate yearly step raises beginning in a teacher’s second year and an increased step raise of at least $1,000 every five years). Building on this initial compromise proposal, Senate conferees today unveiled an updated proposal that keeps all of the features of the first compromise (announced March 11) but adds an increase to the proposed five-year step raises. This updated proposal has already been signed by the Senate conferees.
What’s in the latest proposal?
The March 16 compromise has several components:
- An increase to the starting salary
- Yearly step raises beginning in a teacher’s second year
- An increased step raise every five years
- An immediate phase-in of pay raises beginning on July 1, 2022 (meaning teachers will not wait two years for the full raise)
- A $2,000 raise for teacher assistants
Based on discussion at today’s conference committee meeting, this is what the salary schedule would look like for each licensure level:
|Class A (bachelor’s level)||Class AA (master’s level)||Class AAA (specialist level)||Class AAAA|
|Starting Salary (Size of Raise)||$41,500 (+$4,500)||$43,000 (+$3,720)||$44,000 (+$3,556)||$45,500 (+$3,892)|
|Yearly Step Raise||$400||$525||$550||$600|
|Five-Year Step Raise*||$1,200||$1,250||$1,300||$1,350|
Based on these numbers, teachers will receive an average raise of approximately $5,151 and about 96% of teachers will receive a raise of at least $4,000. The average starting salary will increase to $41,650—surpassing the 2019-2020 regional ($39,754) and national ($41,163) average starting salaries. (We do not currently have figures for the 2021-2022 average starting salary, so it is unclear if the new average will surpass that.) The overall average salary for Mississippi teachers will be somewhere in the $51,000-$52,000 range, which is higher than the current overall average but lower than the regional average of $55,205. The new salary schedule, including raises for teacher assistants, would cost an additional $246 million a year. All in all, this updated proposal is much better than the status quo.
How does this proposal differ from the last?
According to Senate Education Committee Chairman Dennis DeBar, the only changes to the updated proposal from the March 11 compromise are $50 increases to the five-year step raises for Class A, Class AA, and Class AAA teachers. However, upon closer inspection, the updated proposal lowers the starting salary somewhat for Class AA (-$500), Class AAA (-$750), and Class AAAA (-$500) teachers. The starting salary remains unchanged for Class A teachers. (About 90% of beginner teachers have a Class A license.)
Below are graphs comparing the March 11 compromise proposal with the March 16 proposal for Class A and Class AA teachers. With every five-year step raise, Class A teachers will earn slightly more under the March 16 proposal than the March 11 proposal. Class AA teachers under the March 16 proposal begin earning less than the March 11 proposal, but they begin earning more after Year 18. It should be noted that both proposals still represent a substantial increase over the current salary schedule at all licensure levels and years of experience.
What happens next?
The conference committee meeting concluded without an official agreement, but the House conferees appeared amenable to the Senate’s updated compromise. There was certainly a shift in tone in the way the meeting unfolded compared to last week. If House conferees ultimately agree to this plan and sign the conference report, HB 530 will face an up or down vote in both chambers. If it is successful, it will go to the Governor’s desk for final approval. This may happen relatively quickly, so stay tuned. We will provide any updates on our website and social media.