Kayla Reynolds, a fourth grade teacher at Rankin Elementary School in Tupelo, works with a few of her students with their addition and subtracting of fractions during small group instruction time on in January.

TUPELO • The Tupelo Public School District is giving its teachers a raise.

The Tupelo Public School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a $1,000 raise for its administrators and teachers, along with a $500 raise for assistant teachers, for the 2021-22 school year. 

The boost will be in addition to the $1,000 approved by the state Legislature in March. 

With a $2,000 total increase to teachers' base pay, plus step increases for experience, the average pay increase for Tupelo teachers will be about $2,700 per year, which is about $14.29 per day.

With the pay increase in place, first-year teachers (Level A certification and 0 years experience) at Tupelo will now make $41,428 for 189 days of work, equivalent to $219.20 per day. That's more than $4,400 higher than the state's base pay of $37,000 for first-year A0 teachers for 187 days of work, which is equivalent to $197.86 per day.

Superintendent Dr. Rob Picou said the raises are in recognition of the hard work district employees have done during the pandemic and the dedication shown to students as they kept school buildings open "with a mask and a smile."

"I wish we could give them more," Picou said. "Our teachers are very deserving, they work very hard with the children. Teachers are an important role in our society, a very influential role in our society and I certainly want to compensate them as well as we can."

The district, as always, hopes to attract high quality teachers to Tupelo.

"We have the best, and we only want the best," Picou said. "So we want to compensate them commensurate with their professionalism and their level of expertise."

Raises for the district's classified employees like substitute teachers, cafeteria workers, transportation workers and maintenance/custodial staff, are in the works and will be addressed during the board's next meeting, scheduled for May 11.

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