- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas lawmakers are recommending an increase of almost $1,800 in base pay for new teachers.

The House and Senate education committees advised raising the minimum starting teacher salary from $29,244 to $31,000 by fiscal 2017, the Arkansas-Democrat-Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/130DSeB ).

They made the recommendation, along with other suggestions, on Monday as part of a biennial report that will be sent to another legislative committee and then to the full Legislature for approval.

The proposal will cost the state about $16.5 million each year from Arkansas’ general revenue budget.

People already teaching in Arkansas would also receive raises under the committees’ recommendation. Educators with more experience and a bachelor’s degree would get $450 more in salary, while educators with more experience and a master’s degree would get $500 more.

“At the last committee meeting, I think we sort of arrived at the consensus that raising the minimum salary was a good thing. I think we all got to that point,” said Sen. Uvalde Lindsey, D-Fayetteville. “What we couldn’t agree to … is how to get there.”

State lawmakers had studied three ways to increase brand-new teacher salaries, including increasing the base pay by 1 to 2 percent or to just a flat $31,000.

In the report, the committees also suggested that state lawmakers seek ways to find an extra $65 million to fund school district requests for building needs. If some districts win appeals with the state’s education department for their project requests, then that amount could increase by up to $50 million.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com


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