Legislature Addresses Teacher Pay and School Transportation Funding in Budget

Fri 05/06/22 - 15:12

The Missouri General Assembly today passed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE’s) $10 billion budget, which includes:

  • Funds to increase teacher pay, including:
    • Fully funding Governor Parson’s recommendation to increase the baseline teacher salary from $25,000 to $38,000 through a matching grant program.
      • The state will provide local school districts with funds to support 70 percent of the salary costs associated with the program; local school districts would provide the remaining 30 percent.
    • Just over $37 million to restart the Career Ladder program currently in state law, which allows teachers with at least five years of experience to earn extra money for participating in additional activities in the school setting.
  • A one-time increase of $214 million to support transportation in public schools, fully funding the maximum 75 percent of reimbursable costs for the first time since 1991.

These funding increases are made possible by the state’s strong budget position. DESE’s budget bill now heads to Governor Parson’s desk for signature.

“This is an exciting day for K-12 education across our state and we thank the General Assembly for further supporting public education in our state,” said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. “Additional transportation dollars from the state allows school leaders to shift local funds to other high-priority areas to further support students, teachers, and staff. When it comes to teacher pay, Governor Parson made it clear that his recommendation to increase the baseline teacher salary was only the first step in addressing this statewide issue, so we look forward to continuing this urgent conversation. The State Board of Education will convene their Blue Ribbon Commission next month to present long-term, sustainable solutions to address teacher recruitment and retention.”

“It’s great to see the legislature prioritizing funding to support schools and educators amid the current budget position,” said State Board of Education President Charlie Shields. “Public education is one of the key pieces of our state’s infrastructure. Providing schools with the funding they need to educate Missouri students and recruit and retain the best and brightest to the teaching profession is the way our state can ensure we are properly preparing the workforce of tomorrow.”