Teachers likely will receive pay raise

Published 9:07 pm Friday, April 22, 2016

Local educators will benefit from a statewide pay raise for teachers, which was passed unanimously this week by the House of Representatives and Senate.

The bill, which will give teachers and most other education employees a 4 percent raise, was sent to Gov. Robert Bentley for final approval. Bentley released a statement praising both bills shortly after they passed the Legislature, but the governor was yet to sign the bill as of Friday afternoon.

“It’s long overdue,” said Don Willingham, Dallas County Schools Superintendent. “Teachers work awfully hard and so much of what they do is out of pocket, so a 4 percent raise is a good start.”

Under the bill, teachers and education employees making less than $75,000 annually would get a 4 percent raise. Education employees making more than $75,000 would get a 2 percent raise. School principals and assistant principals will also get a 4 percent raise, regardless of pay.

“Teachers are more than worthy of a pay raise, and it has been long time coming,” said Selma City Schools Superintendent Angela Mangum. “I’m hoping this small increase will encourage them and help motivate them.”

The bill would enact the first real raise for Alabama teachers since 2008, according to the Associated Press. A 2 percent raise was approved in 2013 but was offset by increases in benefit costs. Willingham said the way he understands the law, the raise will also include the school’s support staff, which includes bus drivers, custodians, and child nutrition and office workers. Both administrators said the raise won’t impact their budget because they will receive extra funding to cover the 4 percent increase.

“We’re excited for the teachers, the principals and the assistant principals to get some extra money this coming year,” Willingham said.

The bill was originally sent to conference committee, where it was adjusted. Following the changes, it passed the House 100-0 and the Senate 32-0.