GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Teachers on the Coast got a chance to express concerns and suggestions to one of the Republican candidates for governor on Wednesday.
Bill Waller Jr. hosted a teachers’ town hall meeting in Gulfport.
"I'm here to listen, hear their concerns and help shape education policy in the next administration," said Waller.
Long Beach High School teacher Carrie Bartlett was thankful for the opportunity. She’d like to see less testing and wants to see public officials who put students first.
“I want them to make sure public education is at the forefront of their focus when it comes to education policy making,” Bartlett said. “Current leadership, I don’t think thinks about what’s best for the majority of students, what’s best for students and I really want that to be a focus for the governor that I vote for.”
A $1,500 annual salary increase for teachers was recently signed into law, but Waller believes a bigger salary bump is needed.
“My commitment is to have some type of pay raise every year until we reach the southeastern average. That’s just minimal, and that’s cemented with the issues ahead of the teachers’ shortage we have,” said Waller. “We’ve got to do something now or we’ll have a crisis later.”
The Waller campaign is scheduled to hold another teachers town hall meeting Thursday in Ocean Springs at McElroy’s starting at 4:30 p.m.