The Missouri House is considering a wide-ranging education package that recently passed the Senate.

One aspect of that bill came from Sen. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe. The Teacher Recruitment and Retention State Scholarship Program would encourage aspiring teachers to pursue their education and enter the profession. Black told Missourinet that it’s intended to cover teacher shortages in Missouri.

“There’s a grant program or scholarship program to try to motivate people, especially people that went to school, were trained in some other area and now they’re thinking about, ‘well I’m maybe I want to be a teacher,’ and it’s a skill-up scholarship to help them get some of those requirements out of the way so that they can go into the schools and begin teaching, get some of the education paid for,” Black said. 

His proposal would also create a grant program that increases the minimum teacher salary from the base minimum of $25,000 to $38,000, and it would incrementally increase to $44,000. The Teacher Baseline Salary Grant Program is focused on improving teacher pay.

“The minimum salary part is an important issue, you know, and it gets a tremendous amount of press,” Black said. “Probably if we go in and dig, there’s different places in the state, certainly the suburban areas where minimum salary is not the discussion within the school district causing teachers to leave the school district, but for sure many rural parts of the state.”

Black admitted that there’s no silver bullet to solve the state’s teacher recruitment, retention, and salary issues.

“It’s just going to all of a sudden, we have all kinds of people going into education,” Black said. “Every position’s filled with the staff member that has years and years’ experience. It’s going to take a while. It took awhile to get to this point.”

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