HSSD Represented during Legislative Changes

HSSD Represented during Legislative Changes
Posted on 02/20/2019
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Mr. Dudley Webb, 6th grade teacher at our HSSD Intermediate School, attended an official bill-signing ceremony at the State Capitol in honor of a new law (HB1145) signed by Governor Hutchinson to raise the base pay for Arkansas teacher salaries. Mr. Webb was invited alongside other members of the Teacher Leader Advisory Group (TLAG)  organized by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) because of the role the group played in helping to write the Teacher Pay Increase Plan. Educators from across Arkansas on TLAG joined ADE leadership and state officials including Representative Bruce Cozart of Garland County, who helped to sponsor the legislation as Chairman of the House Education Committee, at the ceremony.

“This is an important day for Arkansas teachers, who will start their career at a salary that better reflects the importance of the job and our respect for their role in the lives of our children,” Governor Hutchinson said in his official release. “It’s also an important day for our state as we signal yet again that Arkansas is a great place to live, to work, and to teach school. This will allow us to retain our homegrown teachers and attract talented teachers from other states.”

Work on the Teacher Pay Increase Plan began in January of 2018.  Last June, TLAG members shared the plan with Governor Hutchinson during a feedback session at the Governor’s mansion. With leadership and support by ADE Commissioner Johnny Key, the plan was sponsored by State Representative Bruce Cozart and Senator Jane English.

“I felt very proud to not only represent HSSD at this event but the teachers of this great state,” said Mr. Webb of the experience.

The base pay at HSSD has provided a minimum teacher salary of more than the amount mandated by the new legislation for more than five years. However, the new legislation will affect 168 Arkansas schools, which have until 2023 to incrementally make the salary increases.

“This is a wonderful confirmation from our Governor and all state officials that the education system, and our educators, are a top priority in Arkansas,” says HSSD Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Nehus. “Being able to ensure that new teachers receive competitive salaries also ensures that our schools continue to provide a top quality education to all Arkansas students. Thank you to Governor Hutchinson, Representative Cozart, our TLAG members including Mr. Webb and TLAG Director Meghan Ables, and all supporters and advocates for this plan.”

Dr. Nehus is part of one of the three Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators Legislative Committees, which review and offer input regarding proposed legislation having to do with educational issues grouped by Finance/Facilities, Governance/Retirement, or Curriculum/Assessment during the legislative session. The AAEA Legislative Committees were also part of reviewing the Teacher Pay Increase Plan, and supporting it for approval by Arkansas legislators.

Find the official Governor’s release, ceremony photos, and video of the bill signing, here.

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