Jul 8, 2022 - Politics

Arkansas' lawmakers won't take up teacher pay

A photo of Arkansas' Capitol building.
Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Increasing teacher pay won't be considered during Arkansas' special session of the legislature planned for August, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

What's happening: Accelerating the state's individual income tax cuts is the primary purpose behind lawmakers reconvening, but they may also consider school safety and providing services to support alternatives to abortion.

Why it matters: Arkansas' teacher salaries are among the lowest in the U.S., which impacts the state's ability to recruit and retain educators.

  • The minimum starting salary for a teacher in the 2022-2023 school year is set at $36,000, up from $34,900 last academic year.

Flashback: A spokesperson for Gov. Asa Hutchinson told Axios last month that the governor supported "the proposal to raise teacher salaries to a minimum of $46,000 and implementing at least a $4,000 salary increase."

  • After pushback from legislators noting it would cost more than $300 million to pay teachers more, Hutchinson cut the proposal to a minimum starting wage of $42,000 and a $4,000 increase per teacher for the 2022-2023 school year.

Context: The money to pay teachers more would likely have come from the state's record $1.62 billion revenue surplus.

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