MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Governor Robert Bentley has big plans for Alabama teachers. He says he wants to give them raises for the first time in years. He made the remark in his state of the state address Tuesday night.
Governor Bentley says the state's economy is improving and in turn the sales tax revenue is increase. And the state's sales tax funds the Education Trust Fund.
The governor said for the first time in five years, he feels the state can implement a 2.5 percent raise and sustain that increase for several years.
Michelle Robinson has been teaching at Whitley Elementary School for 19 years. For the past five years her salary hasn't budged.
"We do a lot of great things in this state. We do a lot of things using our own funds and if we don't have our own funds to do it with we can't support projects in our classrooms," said Robinson.
Now the governor is proposing a 2.5 percent pay increase for teachers throughout the state.
"I want our teachers and support personnel to know how much we appreciate how hard they work. As our economy improves, I expect this increase to be the start of what we hope will be greater and more frequent raises for our teachers," said Bentley.
But some teachers and parents say the raise doesn't match what educators deserve.
"Two and a half percent doesn't even begin to cover the pay cuts we've endured with the rising cost of healthcare and increased contributions to retirement," said Robinson.
"It's a good gesture, but I think they need more, with new stuff they have to teach our kids, they need more pay," said parent Natosiha Jones.
The Alabama Education Association is asking for a 10 percent increase for teachers.
"Regardless of what happens, this is the best job in the world. We teach them, they learn, we make due. But, we deserve more than 2.5 percent," said Robinson.
According to the AEA, the starting salary for teachers in Alabama is $36,000 per year. The average salary is roughly $47,000.