Comer calls for finding money to give teachers raises

01/08/2014 09:39 AM

As part of the focus on education dollars in the 2014 session, the governor and lawmaker should divert money to make sure teachers get a salary increase after three budget cycles of flat pay, said Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.

“I think it’s a shame we haven’t given our teachers a pay increase in six years. I hope that this budget proposal that is forthcoming proposes a pay increase for our hard-working public school teachers,” Comer told Pure Politics Tuesday night after Gov. Steve Beshear’s State of the Commonwealth Address.

A one percent raise for teachers would cost $29 million, according to the state budget office.

Education spending has emerged as a major theme of the 2014 session as lawmakers prepare to cobble together a two-year budget.

Comer, a former Republican state representative, said giving teachers a raise doesn’t necessarily mean the General Assembly should raise revenue. Instead, he said local districts and the state department should make sure less money is going to administration and more money is going into the classrooms.

“Too much of the public education dollars don’t make it to the people who are on the front lines, the classroom teachers,” Comer said.

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