Gulfport School District teachers speak out about potential pay cut

Gulfport School District teachers speak out about potential pay cut

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Imagine more work for less pay. More than 20,000 teachers in Mississippi will possibly see a pay cut after legislators shifted $26 million from the School Recognition program into another education program. As fifth-grade teacher Rachel Gillenwater prepares for an uncertain school year, she’s devastated.

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“It’s disappointing honestly. We do work really hard. Of course, we do this job because we love it, not necessarily for the money, but we are putting a lot of our own resources into what we’re doing, not just time but money as well,” Gillenwater said.

Even though the bill didn’t cut overall education funding, but shifted how that money would be spent, Gulfport High School teacher Meredith Payne said taking $26 million away from teachers is the wrong way to go.

“It’s a drop in the bucket. It won’t make a difference. I think a lot of us are wondering what is the benefit of cutting that five percent if it’s going to decrease teacher morale,” Payne said.

Teachers said the pay cut is one more obstacle they face on top of the pandemic. Still, they said they will focus on putting their students first.

“Still meet the needs of all the students and make sure they’re reaching the level of education that they deserve. We still want to produce productive members of society,” Gillenwater said.

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