State lawmakers look to increase salaries for math, science teachers

Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 8:48 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama lawmakers are looking at salary increases for math and science teachers as a way to encourage them to work in K-12 public schools.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said the state needs about 3,000 credentialed more math and science teachers.

“The goal is to retain these educators who maybe begin a career in education, then perhaps they get burned out, or they see very little financial payback for themselves, and they end up leaving education,” Orr said.

The Alabama Senate passed a proposal last week to increase salaries for science and math teachers. Orr says it would cost the state $100 million annually, assuming all of the slots were filled.

“We lose those experienced teachers after several years because they fall farther behind in the in the pay structure,” he said.

Right now, someone on their third year of teaching with a bachelor’s degree would receive about $44,000.

But under this proposal, that salary would jump to about $54,000 for math and science teachers. Their salaries would increase depending on a teacher’s degree.

Keith Lankford is the superintendent of Alexander City Schools. He says even with all of their recruitment efforts it is still a struggle to find teachers.

“We go to all the universities, throughout the state,” he said. “We do recruiting fairs.”

They currently have about six people teaching those courses with emergency certificates.

“Each year it’s hard for us to find certified people to teach math and science,” Lankford said.

Lankford says the salary boost is one way to help keep people at public schools. But he says science and math teachers are not the only fields facing a shortage of teachers.

The proposed salary increase now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives for consideration.

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