JACKSON, Miss.–Mississippi teachers, at almost every level of expertise and experience, make less than the average for the southeastern United States. The Mississippi Senate Education Committee held a discussion on how to change that Wednesday.

“The teacher salary schedule is set by law,” said Dr. Felicia Gavin, Chief of Operations with the Miss. Dept. of Education, as she rolled slides showing the teacher¬† salary schedule.

“”The teacher’s salary is based on their years of experience as well as the level of their license.”

Teachers can also get local supplements, but those are not required and are determined by the school system. In some states the salary is determined by the school districts, which are given the freedom to raise teacher pay. That’s not the case in Mississippi.

But, the legislature is looking at ways to bring those salaries up across the state.

“Our teachers in Mississippi stepped up and I think we ought to reward that fact by increasing their salaries,” said Gov. Tate Reeves, talking with reporters Wednesday about a report that he commissioned to look at salaries.

Reeves said his plan could bring teacher pay up by as much as $7,600 per year.

“I’m optimistic that the legislature is gonna heed our call for higher teacher salaries,” he said.

Reeves said his plan could put Mississippi in the top 20 for salaries, per cost of living.

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