Proposed Missouri budget includes teacher pay raise, more money for school transport

MO Budget Helps K-12 Transportation and Payraise
MO Budget Helps K-12 Transportation and Payraise(WGEM)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 4:32 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The Missouri legislature has passed the FY 2022-2023 budget and schools could be getting some benefits.

Lawmakers have bulked up funding to include $214 million to cover K-12 schools transportation costs, something that surprised officials at the Palmyra school district.

High school principal Jared Pontius said with cost of fuel going up, more state funding can really free up space in their budget.

He said in the past school districts would rely on tax revenue to help cover transportation costs. Pontius said the Missouri government hasn’t fully funded the transportation budget in a long time.

“I was not aware that it would probably be one of their priorities,” he said. “When they did fully fund the transportation portion of the budget it was a nice surprise.”

Pontius said this can help free up money for the school to put towards other departments and make sure their teachers have more resources in the classroom.

The budget also includes a program to raise teacher salaries from $25,000 to $38,000 a year.

High school librarian and teacher Stacy Conrad said their starting pay is already $36,000, but an extra $2,000 can make a difference.

She said teachers can be discouraged from taking teaching jobs due to the pay, especially at small school districts that might not have the best salaries.

“We are in competition with some of the larger places that might have larger bases because of higher taxes and all that sort of stuff so anytime that we can have any incentive, any extra pay would always help to bring people in here,” Conrad said

Local districts would need to kick in 30% of needed funding to get a 70% match from the state for the raises.

The budget now awaits Governor Mike Parson’s signature.

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