Lawmakers debate teacher pay

Feb 6, 2013

During discussion on the state budget, legislators held a lengthy debate on whether teachers should be eligible for a one-time bonus intended for all state employees.  The bonus is one percent of an employee’s salary. 

In the Senate, discussion centered around the fact that some teachers could get raises through school district base salary increases, while other state employees have not received raises for up to four years.   Senator Chris Rothfuss pointed out that lawmakers have also denied teachers state pay raises in the last few years. He says that could backfire.

“This amendment is one more step down that road where we are not attracting the best of the best anymore.  This amendment is one more step down that road where we are not attracting the best of the best anymore.  To me this is the highest value that a legislature funds, our K through 12 education system.  I’d cut everything else before I’d cut that system.”

Senators agreed with Rothfuss and defeated the amendment.  But the House voted to reduce the bonus money commensurate with an employee’s pay raise. 

After the House and Senate finish work on the budget, the two sides will have to reach an agreement in a conference committee.