Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


TEA's two-pronged effort to improve teacher salaries, benefits

Goal to strengthen PECCA, State Minimum Salary Schedule 

TEA has undertaken a major legislative effort to improve the economic well-being of Tennessee teachers. 

The TEA-backed efforts are to ensure state funds get into teacher paychecks and to strengthen local collaborative conferencing negotiations. 

Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesboro) and Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) are sponsoring a bill that would improve good-faith in conferencing and require a Memorandum of Understanding at the end of the process.  

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) and Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis) are sponsoring a bill that would automatically increase the State Minimum Salary Schedule by the percentage increased in state budgets for teacher salaries. 

“These two efforts can have a strong impact on the salaries of teachers,” said Jim Wrye, TEA chief lobbyist. “At the local level, having teachers engage in collaborative conferencing that leads to strong MOUs can help increase local funding, secure state dollars for salaries, and protect and improve benefits.” 

For years average teacher raises tracked with increases in the state budget. In 2013, then-Commissioner Kevin Huffman convinced the state board to gut the schedule and to raise the matrix by half of what the General Assembly provided in state budget. 

“Linking a rise in state minimum to the increase in the state budget for teacher salaries should help drive up teacher pay, the rising tide will lift all boats,” said Wrye. “I am glad with the initial support we are getting for these efforts.     

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