This week the Senate approved raises for teachers and school employees!
On Monday, the Senate passed SCR 2, which is the legislative instrument for the MFP. After some back and forth with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) over the amount of the MFP proposal, the Senate ultimately decided to pass the MFP in its original form.
The MFP unanimously approved by the Senate this week includes a $2,000 raise for teachers and $1,000 for support staff, as well as differential payment stipends for certain teachers in certain circumstances. While this proposal is not the full $3,000/$1,500 raise proposed by the Governor, it is far better than the $0 allocated for teacher and school employee raises in the House’s budget passed earlier this year.
Now the MFP (SCR 2) will go to the House for approval.
In order for educators to receive a raise, the House must pass the MFP proposal AND the House and Senate must agree on a final budget that fully funds the MFP.
On Thursday, LFT delivered over 1,400 floor notes to each Senator from teachers and school employees across the state, asking them to fully fund the MFP, including raises, in the state budget. This weekend, the Senate is poised to do just that. It is widely expected that the Senate’s budget will include funding for the MFP, including teacher and school employee raises. It will likely be finalized over the weekend. This is a great step, but now the budget must go back to the House for approval.
In the final week of the session, the House will consider the Senate amendments to HB 1. Earlier this legislative session, a majority of the House voted to approve a budget that did not include funding for teacher and school employee raises. Instead, they chose to use surplus funds to pay off a portion of the debt that the legislature owes to TRSL. The idea was that this would "free up” funds within local school districts to give teachers a raise, but the plan didn't guarantee that teachers and school employees would actually see any pay increase whatsoever, and the funding "freed up" wouldn't be enough to give all employees the raise in the MFP.
Since the House passed their budget in early May, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) has updated their revenue projections. After hearing from the state’s economist, the REC adopted conservative revenue projections, recognizing $806 million in recurring revenue. In addition to the recurring revenue, the two state “savings accounts,” the Rainy-Day Fund and the Revenue Stabilization Fund, will increase to $903 million and $1.7 billion, respectively. This means the legislature has more money to work with as they craft the state budget.
The House has LESS THAN A WEEK to do the right thing and vote to pass the MFP with a $2,000 raise for teachers and $1,000 for support staff AND fund the raise in the budget.