NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee’s new House Speaker Cameron Sexton says there will be a pay increase for K-12 teachers, but how much is a question for debate as the legislature begins next month.
“In the last eight years, over a billion dollars in new money (has been) going in to help to help K-12,” Speaker Sexton said during a wide-ranging interview as he begins his first legislative session in the position.
When asked about the funding priorities for K-12 education next year, Speaker Sexton began with what’s been done during the eight years he’s been the House.
Funding increases have been followed by national test score increases.
“We are not 47th or 48th. we are somewhere between thirty-seven and forty-two now” said the speaker. “There are still a lot of things we need to do.”
Rep. Sexton cited pay for those who teach critical years that often define student success–like kindergarten through third grade or eighth grade.
“And trying to get the best teachers in those grades to teach our students to give us the best success for those students.”
said the Republican House leader. “I think is very worthwhile.”
The speaker added that increasing teacher pay for those grades and across the board is something “I think we are going to do again.”
“Are we going to increase teacher pay again? Yes.” said Speaker Sexton. “Have we done it in the past and had a very good success record? Yes, we have supported the teachers.”
The speaker says local school districts have sometimes used money for past teacher pay increases in other areas of education.
Any new funding he says will be specifically designated for teacher pay increases only.