JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
In his 2022 State of the State address, Gov. Mike Parson proposed raising the starting pay for Missouri teachers.
Parson's State of the State address laid out his fiscal priorities for the 2023 budget, which goes into effect July of this year. Included in his proposed budget is $21.8 million to raise the starting pay for Missouri teachers to $38,000. The current starting pay for teachers in Missouri is $32,000, according to the National Educators Association. Missouri ranks 50th in the country for teacher pay.
Parson's plan would have school districts sharing the load with the state to raise teachers' salaries.
"By partnering with local school districts, we can increase the baseline salary for new teachers to $38,000," Parson said.
Parson's proposal has bipartisan support. House minority leader Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, said the Missouri Democratic caucus has asked for raised teacher pay for years.
"It's something that I can tell you our caucus every year since I've been here and I never would be on before that has asked for increasing the starting teacher pay," Quade said.
Democrats gave a standing ovation when Parson announced the idea. However, Quade said the reaction from her colleagues on the other side of the aisle concerns her.
"It took a while for the other side to join us in that clapping," Quade said. "I hope that's not indicative of what's about to happen in that fight."
Fulton Middle School Principal Beth Houf was one of the governor's guests for his address. Houf is the first Missouri principal to be named National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Houf told ABC 17 she's excited by the prospect of a pay raise for teachers. Houf said teachers don't go into the career for the pay, but it's important for people to make a decent living.
With the rise of COVID-19 cases in schools, Houf said she and other educators are still learning how to handle all the challenges the pandemic has brought on.
"We do not have subs daily, and so teachers are using their planning time to sub, discipline and mental health concerns have been there as well just because it's hard on kids," Houf said.