Lawmakers pushing for bigger raises for all Georgia school employees
There are 1.7 million students enrolled in Georgia public schools. Democrats and Republicans both said it’s important to invest in those students, but they’re divided on how.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - There are 1.7 million students enrolled in Georgia public schools. Democrats and Republicans both said it’s important to invest in those students, but they’re divided on how.
On Wednesday, Governor Brian Kemp announced his budget will include another raise for educators. He’s budgeted $303 million to adjust the state base salary schedule to give certified education personnel a $2,000 raise. This will bring the total pay increase for educators under Governor Kemp’s administration to $7,000.
“We have given hardworking educators a $7,000 raise in just 5 years. No other General Assembly or Governor will have raised teacher pay by so much, so quickly, in state history,” said Kemp in his State of the State address.
Senate and House Democrats want an even larger pay increase that stretches beyond the classroom. They are calling for $10,000 raises for all education employees- including staff like bus drivers and cafeteria workers. Senator Harold Jones said with his proposal, the money would come out of the state’s $6.6 billion surplus.
“We have to make sure that they are taken care of. There’s nothing more important in the Georgia economy than to invest in our future,” said Jones.
A study from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators reports 82% of schools are short on teachers and 20% want to leave the profession in the next five years.
Lisa Morgan, a kindergarten teacher and the President of the Georgia Association of Educators said the raises don’t address the issue of teachers leaving the profession. A Georgia Department of Education study shows the top reasons why teachers are leaving include a lack of benefits, too many added administrative duties, and a lack of voice in their schools.
“We became educators not to get rich but work with teachers and work with our children. It’s important we lead the way because our children are our future” said Morgan.
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