Lawmakers Vote Hike in Teacher Pay, But Where’s the Money?

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(DeSoto County, MS) Wendy Wair knows teachers put up with a lot.

So much, she says, they don’t get paid like they should, ”No, teachers do not get paid enough. It’s an extremely hard job. I have a sister in the school system.”

Part of reform package approved by the Mississippi house, includes a $5,000 raise for every teacher in the state.

Most everybody agrees a pay raise for teachers is a good idea, but here’s Mississippi’s dirty little secret.

There’s no money to pay for these raises and those in the know say there’s almost no way teachers will ever see the money.

That’s because the raises would cost about one hundred million dollars the State doesn’t have.

”Well, it happens quite often. It’s happened before” said Former House member Ted Mayhall.

He says politicians do it, to look good to groups like teachers who can help them at election time, ”I think it’s a political thing, a lot of it is. It’s very unpopular to say you’re not for the schoolteachers, and all that, you know.”

Others say, the State could find some money, and leave School Boards to make up the difference, and maybe force them to raise taxes in the process.

Mayhall says it comes down to one principle, ”We can’t operate the state on a credit card. It just doesn’t work that way”.

And parents say they don’t like what looks to them like a ‘bait-and-switch’ ”I think that’s the nature of our government nowadays, whether it be at the State level or the National level. They want programs and offer new programs or pass legislation which they have to money to pay for,” said Wair.

Even so, the pay raises passed the House 63 to 47.