Teachers rally for better pay, benefits across Arkansas

Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 6:40 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – Amid talks among lawmakers, teachers are fighting to be paid better for the work they do on a regular basis.

On Tuesday, July 26, dozens of teachers lined up at the Jonesboro Municipal Center, holding signs like “Teachers will stay for better pay” and “One-time bonus doesn’t equal a raise”.

One of those at the rally was Angela Cooley, a sixth-grade math teacher at the Jonesboro Math and Science Magnet School.

Cooley said teachers have always been paid little, but after hearing about the recent special session in Little Rock over the surplus of money, as well as comments by District 20 Senator Dan Sullivan, it showed her something needed to change.

“When the governor first started talking to legislators about doing the surplus raise for teachers and staff, superintendents reached out, principals reached out,” she said.

Cooley explained Jonesboro Public Schools has enough of a student body to generate enough revenue for pay and benefits, but small rural schools are not that lucky.

“When you look at some smaller rural schools, they don’t have thousands of students. They don’t bring in as much money to pay their teachers, and those are the ones that are making that 36-thousand,” she said. “I’m thankful my district is able to do that, but I got to fight for other teachers who can’t.”

Cooley said the fight is far from over, adding there will be a rally at the Little Rock capitol on Aug. 7, where she will be joined by other educators in Northeast Arkansas and the state.

“Email your legislators, email your senators, email your representative, email all those people. Let’s fight for our pay,” she exclaimed.

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