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Miss. Senate Could Soon Tackle Teacher Pay Raises
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The bill that would give Mississippi teachers a pay raise may soon make it's way to the Senate. MPB's Paul Boger reports Senate Education Committee members are looking over the bill and making adjustments before it goes to the floor. 
 
Teachers in Mississippi may soon know whether or not they will be getting a 42-hundred dollar raise over then next four-years. The measure could be picked up by the Senate Education committee in the next few days.
 
Republican Senator Gray Tollison of Oxford is the committee chair. He says his chamber wants to take it's time with the bill.
 
"The House has sent a bill over and right now we're really in the transition process I think the Senate is looking at that issue and deciding which way it wants to move with it and how it wants to move." said Tollison.
 
The measure, which was approved by the House 86-26 earlier this month, would give teachers in their first five years automatic raises. However, those with more experience would have to meet at least three of 22 benchmarks ranging from professional certifications to sponsoring extracurricular clubs.
 
Madison County School District Superintendent Ronnie McGehee says many of the state's more seasoned teachers have already proven their mettle. 
 
"They're excited about the potential of a pay raise, but they're really concerned about the 20 to 25 year veteran having to hit some of the thresholds." said McGeehee. "Some of these guys have already been at ahigh level for a long time; producing a lot of great kids. A lot of great exiting that goes on and it come back on their teachers."
 
Amy Rodgers is an award winning teacher from Lamar County. She says believes the state needs to give all teachers a raise.
 
"I would like to see an across the board even though I understand why they want some kind of accountability." said Rodgers. "I think if you really want to honor teachers with pay then you'll give it across the board. It'll draw more people into the state, and it'll give more credibility to the profession.
 
If the Legislature approves the bill, it will mark the first raise teachers in Mississippi have gotten in over seven years.