FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas educators are anxiously awaiting Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ LEARNS bill to officially be filed.
Fort Smith Education Association President Ryan Gray said he’s supportive of raising starting teacher pay, which is included in the plan, but he said he also wants to see veteran teachers rewarded.
“We need to recruit new teachers, but we also need to spend some time figuring out how to retain veteran teachers that have a lot of experience,” Gray said.
Gray said he wants to make sure public school funding remains a priority.
Gray said he’s most concerned with the part of the LEARNS plan that could repeal the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act. The act requires districts to give teachers notification if their contract will not be renewed and let them be heard by the school board.
“The waiving of Teacher Fair Dismissal Act has nothing to do with improving student outcomes, and it has nothing to do with supporting teachers, and so I need an explanation of that from the governor,” Gray said.
Gov. Sanders announced the plan on Wednesday.
“I look forward to working with the legislature to pass this bill and begin a new brighter future for our kids,” Sanders said.
There is no timeline for when the bill will be filed.