House Bill to Cap Teacher Salaries

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LITTLE ROCK, AR — A bill to cap teacher salaries will be heard in the House Education Committee Thursday morning.

House Bill 1861, filed by State Rep. Reginald Murdock (D-Marianna), states one of the reasons for the proposed change is to make sure all school districts in the state have a “substantially equal opportunity to recruit and retain qualified teachers.”

The bill goes on to state that a 2014 Teacher Salary Report revealed a gap of almost $26,000 in average salaries at school districts across Arkansas, and would prevent school districts from adopting salary schedules more than $10,000 higher than the minimum salary established by state code.

Arkansas Code Title 6, Chapter 17, Subchapter 24, provides for minimum salaries by several tiers:
  • $29,244 for an entry-level teacher with a Bachelor’s degree.
  • $35,994 for a teacher holding a Bachelor’s, with 15 years of experience.
  • $33,630 for an entry-level teacher with a Master’s degree.
  • $41,130 for a teacher holding a Master’s, with 15 years of experience. 
To put the pay grades into perspective, an entry-level teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in Bentonville Public Schools would get the highest minimum salary in the state, $44,147.
In the River Valley, a Fort Smith teacher with the same qualifications would secure a minimum salary of $37,500.
As it stands, the Augusta school district in eastern Arkansas would offer that same teacher the lowest minimum salary in the state, $29,244 — on par with the state-enforced minimum.

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