Teacher pay raises a good start but there’s still more to do, Kemp says in Macon

Gov. Brian Kemp met with Middle Georgia school district leaders for an education roundtable as part of a statewide tour marking his first 100 days in office.

The governor and school officials discussed a range of topics that included teacher morale, pay raises and dual enrollment programs during Wednesday’s meeting at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

One of the highlights of Kemp’s first few months in office was backing a $3,000 pay raise for teachers that state legislators approved.

Howard Middle School Principal Kevin Adams said that while pay raises are important for teachers, there are still many educators who feel overworked.

“I think more than the money they need support in the classrooms,” he said. “When I started teaching, I was able to just teach. Now, there’s a whole lot more expected out of educators.”

Kemp said the pay raise is a good start but more can be done to improve teacher morale and retain them for the long-term.

“We have to show a commitment for a number of years to led educators know that we appreciate them,” Kemp said.

Officials also addressed Georgia’s dual enrollment program, which provides funding for high school students to earn college credits.

The funding path for the program is unsustainable, but there have been some recommendations on how to curb some of those costs, Kemp said.

“We’ve got to protect the dollars we have going to public education and making sure we’re getting the best value,” he said.

The Bibb school district has had the number of students enrolled in dual enrollment jump from 35 to more than 300 over the last four years, Superintendent Curtis Jones said.

“We’re in the middle of looking at how we’re going to do that that would be equitable to everyone.”

This year, the state also approved more funding for student mental health services and school security.