Mississippi GOP Gov Nominee Tate Reeves Says Education Agenda Includes Teacher Pay Raises

"We've crunched the numbers and determined exactly how we can ensure that our teachers make much more in the coming years."

Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves released his education proposals Wednesday, saying he has a four-year plan to increase Mississippi teacher salaries if he's elected governor.

He said the plan will not require a tax increase because Mississippi's economy is good and state tax collections are exceeding expectations.

Reeves discussed his proposals at a news conference in Gulfport.

"We've crunched the numbers and determined exactly how we can ensure that our teachers make much more in the coming years," Reeves said. "I don't traffic in false promises of unlimited free money."

On Thursday, Reeves and the Democratic nominee for governor, Attorney General Jim Hood, are debating each other for the first time. The one-hour debate begins at 7 p.m. at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and is being carried on statewide TV and radio.

Reeves proposes increasing state spending from the current $12 million to $24 million for teachers' classroom supplies.

He said he wants to increase teacher pay by $4,200 over four years: $1,500 in the first year, $1,000 in the second, $1,000 in the third and $800 in the fourth. He said the goal is to hit the Southeastern average for teacher pay, which currently is just over $47,000.

Reeves also proposes increasing the supplement for teachers who meet rigorous standards to earn national board certification. Mississippi's current supplement is $6,000 a year, and his plan would increase that to $10,000.