LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into a law a measure that will raise the minimum for teacher salaries in the state by $4,000 over the next four years.
Hutchinson on Monday signed the bill to raise the minimum starting salary in 168 of the state's 235 school districts beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. The remaining districts are already paying the minimum salary requirements laid out in the legislation.
The new law will raise the minimum teacher salary districts must pay to $36,000 by the 2022-2023 school year.
Hutchinson has called for setting aside $60 million for districts to comply with the new minimum salary requirement.
All four major school districts in northwest Arkansas already pay their teachers more than the state minimum and will not be impacted by this bill. The Springdale School District has the highest starting teacher salary of any in the districts in northwest Arkansas, starting teachers at more than $47,000 a year.
"We've been very fortunate in northwest Arkansas and one thing our superintendent, Jim Rollins, has always done, he's been here 37 years not and he values the teachers and knows how important it is to have salaries. So we've tried to do the best we can to keep our salaries the highest in the state and always be competitive in that area.," Rick Schaeffer, the Communications Director for Springdale Schools, told 5NEWS.
Starting teacher pay in the Fayetteville School District is $46,000. The Fort Smith School District starts teachers with no experience at just over $38,000. The state minimum pay in Oklahoma for a teacher with no experience is around $36,000.