MSTA Calls for A Raise

1 decade 8 months 4 days ago Monday, September 17 2007 Sep 17, 2007 Monday, September 17, 2007 9:44:22 PM CDT September 17, 2007 in News
The Missouri State Teachers Association is petitioning for higher starting salaries and equal pay for teaching in any district in Missouri.

"I've always felt like teachers are underpaid. But you've also heard the statement from a lot of teachers that says, 'I didn't get into teaching for the money,' but they also want enough to live on," said West Junior High health teacher Becky King.

"A lot of people leave teaching because they don't make enough money. They just can't support their families. That issue right there is the part that bothers me," she continued.

The National Education Association says the state isn't making the grade. Missouri ranks 44th in the nation for starting teacher salaries. MSTA wants to see that ranking change by boosting the minimum pay for a beginning teacher.

Kent King says rural areas suffer the most when teachers are attracted to urban areas by higher pay.

"If somebody came along and said, 'You can do something that's similar, but I'll pay you one and a half times what you're making,' if both jobs had appealed to you, which one would you take?" MSTA Executive Director Kent King asked.

Under the current system, teachers who work in Boone County would likely lose pay if they took a job in another district. MSTA proposes switching from a district salary schedule to a statewide schedule. If lawmakers agree, teachers could move from one district to another without taking a pay cut.

Starting teachers are paid a base rate of $24,000 per year. MSTA wants the starting salary increased to $30,000.

"All the people will say. 'I didn't get in this for the money,' and I understand that. But they didn't go in it to be paupers,  either." Kent King said.

The association says the pay hikes would cost Missouri about $75 million a year. The state legislature has not yet received MSTA's petition.

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