AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A bill that would increase the starting salaries for Maine teachers to $40,000 is up for public hearing Wednesday.
Teachers from across the state are traveling to the Augusta in support of a bill called "An Act to Improve the Quality of Teachers", LD 818.
Maine's average starting salary for teachers is $33,189 a year, according to a yearly report.
According to Maine Education Association, a yearly report by the National Education Association ranks Maine 41st in the nation for starting salaries for teachers, and has the lowest starting wage in all of New England.
According to the Maine Education Association, the bill would raise the bar for new teachers by increasing hands-on exposure to the classroom for college students and increase the grade point average a graduating student must have to receive a teaching certificate.
RSU 19 Superintendent Mike Hammer said the concept of the bill is a good one, but that enacting it would raise his budget by nearly $270,000.
"I'm trying to work in the opposite direction to bring our costs down," said Hammer. "I like the idea in concept but that would put us in the whole even further."
MSAD 17 Superintendent Richard Colpitts agreed, saying this measure would "pay some teachers more than others who have already worked in the district for years. The matrix would slide up and I would need to pay those other teachers more too."
The increased starting salary would begin for the school year 2018-2019 if the bill passes.