Meridian Star

New Today

January 31, 2014

Senate sends teacher paycheck measure to governor

NEW ORLEANS — The Mississippi Senate voted 48-0 Friday for a bill meant to ensure teachers get a full August paycheck, though local school board representatives question its legality.

The measure now goes to Gov. Phil Bryant for his consideration. Spokeswoman Nicole Webb wouldn't say whether he would sign it, but she said Bryant "certainly wants to be sure that teachers and school employees are paid fairly."

The bill directs school districts to pay all employees in equal monthly installments. It's meant to end problems created by an attorney general's opinion saying it violates the state constitution to pay employees for work not yet performed.

The Mississippi School Boards Association has said it believes a new state law can't overcome the constitutional hurdle, but Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, said during debate he believes the law would be constitutional and solve the problem.

A 2012 law that takes effect this fall says schools can't start before the third Monday of August. In 2014, that means classes can't start before Aug. 18.

Typically, a teacher's yearly contract begins Aug. 1, and they get their pay in 12 equal monthly checks, even though they don't work during the summer. For a 187-day contract, that works out to 16 days of work each month. But with 10 days of school and maybe three days of preparation, a teacher likely won't have done 16 days of work in August 2014.

That would mean less than a full paycheck, although the remainder of the pay would be made up in following months.

School boards and superintendents opposed the law mandating the later start of the school year, which was pushed by Mississippi Gulf Coast tourism interests. Local school leaders have been using the paycheck problem to push lawmakers to reverse themselves.

Sen. Videt Carmichael, R-Meridian, tried to amend the bill Friday to repeal the school start date legislation, but fellow Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves ruled that wasn't allowed under Senate rules.

"Let our local districts decide when school should start and when it should end," said Carmichael, a former principal.

He complained that his separate bill to repeal the law hasn't gotten a hearing in the Education Committee.

"At least bring before the committee, not just my bill but some others that would repeal the law," he said.

Supporters warned of the political consequences about voting against the bill.

"If you vote for this bill, you vote for teachers to get paid like they need to be paid," said Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula. "If you vote against it, you vote against the way teachers need to be paid."


Text Only
New Today
Biz Marquee
New Today

Do you think a historic marker should be placed where the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) Building stood?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide