Meridian teachers see 3.4% pay hike

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
May 1, 2001
Meridian Public School teachers will get an average pay increase of 3.4 percent for the next school year, the board decided Monday.
During a special meeting of the Meridian Public Schools Board of Trustees, the teacher's salary scale was approved. Money for the raises will come from a $500 supplement from the state, a state step increase ranging from $325 to $465, depending on a teacher's certification and a local supplement that is increased $25 per year for up to 20 years.
According to Suzanne Smith, the district's chief fiscal officer, a first year teacher will see an increase of at least $960. The highest raise, $2,595, will go to a teacher with the highest classification and 24 years experience.
Smith said teacher salaries reflect 80 percent of the district's budget. State money for the raises was made possible by House Bill 1161, which appropriated $25 million for teacher and assistant teacher salaries statewide for the 2001-02 school year. The money for the first year of a proposed five-year teacher pay raise was appropriated even though the state has not shown 5 percent economic growth. Such a level of growth would have resulted in an automatic 2 percent pay raise.
Dr. Janet McLin, superintendent, told the board if the state doesn't realize 5 percent growth next year and the state doesn't appropriate the money, the district's salary schedule will not increase to accommodate pay raises.
Smith said the most recent figures available rank Meridian Public Schools as 12th in the state for teacher salaries.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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