(WMC) - Mississippi teachers are some of the lowest paid in the country. But now, they are getting some help.
With the stroke of Mississippi Governor Phil Braynt's pen Tuesday, teachers will get an additional $2,500 over the next two years.
Teachers in line for a raise say it is about more than just money.
Elementary school students are the reason Coldwater coach Wert Spiva has been a teacher for 22 years.
"You have a direct impact on their lives, which could help them become productive members of society," said Spiva.
Spiva and other teachers got a vote of confidence from Governor Phil Bryant and the state when they were given bigger paychecks.
"The monetary value, it's good in itself, but it's the thought behind it as far as saying, 'We appreciate you and what you're trying to do,' " said Spiva.
What Mississippi lawmakers are trying to do is boost education. A $1,500 pay raise for all teachers starting this summer is just one way to keep talent in Magnolia State classrooms.
"It'll help from some people trying to go over state lines and work in other states," said teacher Lindsey Bragg. "We can keep good teachers here in Mississippi since we're getting the pay raise."
Coldwater is part of Tate County Schools. It is a lower performing district that is making strides.
The governor also signed off on merit raises, so teachers like Lindsey Bragg can be rewarded for helping students and their school districts improve.
The raises may cost the state more than $100 million. Lawmakers plan to develop some type of pay plan for high performing teachers in low performing districts in the next few years.
Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.
730 North Summit Street