Plans to raise minimum teacher salaries by less than a few thousand dollars could cost the state between $2 million and $ 7 million dollars. The Bureau of Legislative Research presented Arkansas lawmakers Monday with several routes toward increasing the minimum pay for teachers to nearly $31,000. Currently minimum pay for a bachelor’s degree is just over $29,000.
Democratic state Senator Joyce Elliott of Little Rock says she thinks her fellow Education Committee members are concerned about low teacher pay, but that not might result in new state funds.
“There’s going to be some discussion about the way money is spent presently. I think that would be just as much a part of the discussion as do we add more money to the pot to make sure that we can change present circumstances,” said Elliott.
Funding solutions included one-time boosts in state funding to ease the transition to higher salaries for districts as well as more costly, permanent plans, addressing disparities in median salaries between higher paying and lower paying districts.