Politics of confusion mires teacher pay issue

By Staff
Many Mississippi school teachers have been told the pay raise they got from the Mississippi Legislature is a one-time bonus, not a permanent raise. They have also been advised by members of the Legislature who voted on the issue that the raise is permanent, the first step in a five year plan to hike their pay to the Southeastern average by mid-decade.
Confusion is running rampant and politics seems to be the cause.
Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and members of the Legislature are on ill terms at the moment and teachers are caught somewhere in the middle. To say lawmakers did not accept Musgrove's budget plan and his prediction of slower economic growth would be an understatement. Late in the 2001 session, the Legislature politically slapped the governor's face by overriding more than 40 of his vetoes.
The dispute continues, and now is spilling over into contracts written for school teachers, and advise by the state Board of Education simply furthers the confusion.
While they recognize the second year of the pay package may already be in trouble, lawmakers suggest teachers take the first year raise to the bank. Sounds like good advice.

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