Educators disappointed with 2% cost of living raise proposal by Gov. Ivey

Educators want bigger raise in 2021

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Monday kicks-off the second week of the legislative session in Montgomery.

One of the items up for discussion is Governor Ivey’s education budget proposal.

She wants to set aside $7.6 billion for the state education system.

But some teachers aren’t satisfied.

In her budget proposal, Governor Ivey includes a 2 percent cost of living raise for all educators.

Because of the pandemic, they didn’t get the raise last year they were expecting.

So now, a lot of teachers want a bigger pay raise.

“I would be offended, I would be let down if this number does not look more like a 6-8 percent,” Meleighsa McLaughlin said.

James Clemens High School English teacher Meleighsa McLaughlin says educators deserve more.

“Alabama’s revenue is better than it’s been in years. Not only does that mean it’s the time, I think we also have to keep in mind what educators have been going through this pandemic. Everyone has been affected and we are not immune,” she said.

McLauglin says many educators dipped into their own wallets in order to support the transition to virtual learning.

“We had to create home offices. We had to get the technology we needed. Just like every student doesn’t have reliable internet access, we have teachers and staff that don’t have reliable internet access. So we were reaching in our pockets to cover these deficits,” she explained.

William Tunnell with the Alabama Education Association agrees that the raise proposal is a let down.

“We are in competition with all the other states. Quite frankly, not just in the southeast but all across America. And there are years that we do better than others and we cant lag behind,” Tunnell said.

Tunnell says educators remain hopeful legislators will push the cost of living raise above two percent.

“The economy is enough to support it again this year. It’s just really difficult to imagine that a two percent pay increase this year would be adequate to make up for two years worth of pay raises,” he said.

McLaughlin says a lot of people recognize the sacrifices they make, but a lot of teachers are having a hard time paying their bills.

“We felt that love and appreciation. We can’t pay our bills with love and appreciation,” McLaughlin said.

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