Salary Hike for Educators
If approved, the proposed $2,000 pay raise for teachers and other certified staff in Georgia’s public schools follows the $3,000 increase lawmakers passed in the 2019 legislative session. Certified pre-kindergarten teachers are also slated for a $2,000 pay raise and assistant teachers in the program would receive a five percent increase. These salary increases, along with legislators’ strong support for the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), are a valuable tool to address the teacher shortage across Georgia.
Georgia loses 30 to 40 percent of teachers within their first five years in the classroom depending on their school level and subject area. Fewer people are entering the profession, with enrollment steadily falling in teacher preparation programs. In PAGE’s 2019 Legislative Survey, over half of respondents reported that salary is the most important factor for recruiting and retaining Georgia teachers.
Other critical school staff would receive raises if Gov. Kemp’s budget is approved. Bus drivers and school nutrition workers in local school districts would see a five percent pay bump.
Each school district will determine how to implement the pay raise based on its particular financial circumstances. The raises may increase the cost of benefits or have other effects on districts’ budgets.
The state’s investment in another component of educators’ compensation—TRS—is down in the proposed budget by nearly $192 million. However this decrease results from a reduction in the employer contribution rate to 19.06 percent from 21.14 percent and reflects the robust fiscal strength of the program.