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Missouri education leaders aim to increase base pay for teachers

There's a new plan in Missouri to increase teacher base salary by $10,000. Education leaders say the move would help schools retain better talent.

ST. LOUIS — As school districts struggle to find teachers, one of the top criticisms has been low pay.

There's a new plan to change that in Missouri by increasing their base salary by $10,000.

Missouri Education leaders said increasing teachers’ wages is a top priority in 2022.

A bill that has been pre-filed asks state legislators to discuss and approve a $10,000 pay base pay increase, from the current level of $25,000 to $35,000. Leaders say upping that pay will help improve their day-to-day lives.

“You can't ignore when your pay is 49th in the nation out of 50 states and DC,” said Byron Clemmons of AFT Local 420, which represents St. Louis teachers. “It's pathetic. This is a breath of fresh air, a step in the right direction. We deserve to make more than we do right now. Especially during the pandemic, it's been a lot to ask of our employees.”

Leaders also say the move will help schools retain better talent in the classrooms.

Clemmons said the pay increase is long overdue. The increase will boost the quality of life for educators making the minimum and will help attract more bright minds to Missouri schools. If approved in 2022, the changes won’t go into effect until the fall of 2024.

Governor Mike Parson said this is important, especially since educators are grooming the next generation of Missouri leaders.

“I believe the state needs to do a better job to take care of state employees and I believe we can do it,” Parson said.

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