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Alabama educators react to lawmakers increasing teacher pay

Impact of teacher pay raises in Alabama
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 11:19 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama teachers will soon make more money, with state lawmakers approving a historic educator pay raise bill earlier this week.

“The past 2 years have been really hard,” Helena Intermediate teacher Amanda Miller said.

Amanda Miller has been teacher for 23 years, but she, like many other teachers, has thought about getting a new job.

“I was even considering at the end of 25 years trying to see what else I could find out there,” Miller said. “There are so many demands on regular classroom teachers. It’s just so much work and people aren’t wanting to do it.”

With teacher shortages growing worse across the state, legislators are increasing pay to help keep experienced educators in the classrooms.

“Our salary schedule has not been helpful to people with experience,” Miller said. “I know several teachers who were thinking about retiring at the end of this year before this happened and now they are not.”

In the newly passed bill, teachers with less than nine years of experience will see a 4% increase. But, those with more than nine years will see five to 21 percent increases in pay, depending on how much experience they have.

“My own raise will be about 11 and a half percent,” Miller said. “That is bigger than any raise I have seen since ever. I think it is going to help a lot with the teacher shortage.”

The bill also gives teachers a 1% pay increase for each additional year they work beyond nine and miller says pay raises aren’t just a benefit for current teachers, but could help the state recruit new ones.

“That will hopefully give us enough time so we can do other things, so we can get people into enough programs at colleges,” Miller said. “Because, there is a significant decline of people going into education.”

The raises will take effect on October 1.

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