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Missouri teachers might not receive the raise they were expecting

A photo shows students walking to class at a Kansas school.
Chris Neal
Kansas News Service
The average starting pay for teachers in Missouri is just $32,000, putting them last among all 50 states.

Average starting pay for teachers in Missouri is already the lowest in the country. Now, teachers might not be receiving the raise they were hoping for.

At around $32,000 a year, starting salaries for Missouri teachers are less than anywhere else in the United States.

This is an issue that Republican Governor Mike Parson has brought to the forefront as of late, even referencing in his State of the State address that half of teachers in Missouri leave the profession by their fifth year.

As the state experiences a budget surplus, Gov. Parson planned on using $22 million in state funds to increase the starting pay to $38,000. But now, some lawmakers in Jefferson City are holding it up.

State Representative Maggie Nurrenbern, a Democrat from Kansas City, is a member of the Missouri House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee. She says for some, the governor's plan didn't go nearly far enough, and for others, it was too much.

"Unfortunately what we saw from the chairman of the Budget Committee (Rep. Cody Smith), is he simply tossed out the plan and didn't propose an alternative," explains Rep. Nurrenbern. "So, we are going to look to the Senate to hopefully add the money back in for a solid plan to increase teacher pay across the state."

As for whether or not something can get passed before the end of the legislative session on this issue, she says the Senate is where it would need to be addressed.

"I have some hope that the Senate can restore this, that they can come up with a real solution," says Rep. Nurrenbern. "We are in a historic budget year. We have the opportunity to make historic investments in our human infrastructure."

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