MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama is ranked 35th in the nation for teacher pay, according to most recent data from the Alabama Education Association. State lawmakers will consider a teacher pay raise once the legislative session begins.
"I really enjoy working with the kids,” said Kim Pennisi. "I like to watch the kids grow and change and see how they develop over the year.”
Pennisi is a teacher at Auburn Junior High School and is in her 25th year of teaching. With rising retirement costs and health insurance rates, Pennisi said it’s time for a pay raise.
“Today I make less money than I did 10 years ago," she said.
The AEA said most recent data showed the average Alabama teacher salary was $50,391 in 2017. But Pennisi isn’t alone.
“The children are our future. I just enjoy working with the children,” said Pam Gregory, who is a teacher at East Smiths Station Elementary School.
Gregory, who is in her 38th year of teaching, wants a pay raise too.
“I just think we deserve it,” she said.
State lawmakers gave teachers a 2.5 percent pay raise in 2018. Education Chairman Sen. Arthur Orr said it is a “foregone conclusion” that there will be another teacher pay raise this upcoming legislative session.
“It appears we will have the capacity,” Orr said.
He said it costs $41 million per k-12 percentage point increase in Alabama. Orr would not say what the pay raise could look like, but said budget revenue projections are strong.
The legislative session begins March 5.