Gov. Mike Parson has signed a pair of education bills into law. Senate Bill 727 is sponsored by Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, and House Bill 2287 is sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters.

The bills increase baseline teacher salary to $40,000 annually, restrict four-day school weeks, with a small incentive to districts who hold classes five days a week, boost support for early childhood education programs, and improve funding for small schools.

They also contain other provisions including:

  • Increases salaries for teachers with a master’s degree and 10+ years’ experience to a minimum of $48,000 per year by 2027.
  • Increases all Missouri teachers’ salaries by the January Consumer Price Index report, with a cap of 3% annually.
  • Increases the funding limit and expands access for Missouri’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.
  • Incentivizes school districts in municipalities larger than 30,000 residents to have 5-day school weeks.
  • Establishes the Elementary Literacy Fund.
  • Increases the small school grant funding program from $15 million to $30 million per year.
  • Protects retirement benefits for educators who continue teaching after retirement.
  • Establishes the Teacher Recruitment and Retention State Scholarship Program.

One of the bills also requires the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop an online teacher preparatory program for teacher certification.

“I have and always will support Missouri teachers. Since the beginning of our administration, we’ve looked at ways to increase teacher pay and reward our educators for the hard work they do, and this legislation helps us continue that progress,” Governor Parson said. “We ask a lot of our educators when it comes to teaching and caring for our children. Together, this legislation supports Missouri students, teachers, and families with more educational opportunities to succeed – including additional investments in pre-k – while ensuring our teachers earn a better wage.”

Christofanelli calls today a significant victory for education in Missouri.

“This is the product of hundreds of hours of hard work by numerous people. SB 727 and HB 2287 will grant more families access to Missouri Empowerment Scholarships, give Boone County residents a charter school option, protect virtual education students, and increase teacher pay. These bills will dramatically improve educational opportunities for all Missouri children, and I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.”

During final House debate on the legislation, Rep. Adrian Plank, D-Columbia, said SB 727 would “destroy” his area, which covers Boone County.

“I’ve got emails from Harrisburg, Hallsville, Centralia, Ashland. All these schools understand that if this bill comes through with charter schools, it’s going to take money from them. You know what happens when it takes money from them? They’ve got to do more bond issues, which means they’ve got to raise their taxes. This is just a tax transfer to rural communities,” said Plank.

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