Pay Raises Keep Best and Brightest in the Classroom
Gov. Brian Kemp highlighted investments in public education, including the educator workforce, in his 2023 State of the State address, which he delivered to the General Assembly on Wednesday, Jan. 25. He stressed the importance of a highly skilled workforce across all sectors, beginning with education. Kemp characterized the $5,000 teacher pay raise implemented in his first term and the additional $2,000 teacher raise proposed in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget as critical to keep Georgia’s best and brightest in the classroom, particularly in the wake of the pandemic when many educators are struggling with burnout. He thanked Lauren Plair, a first grade teacher in Lowndes County in her fifth year of teaching, for the work that she and educators across the state did throughout the pandemic. Plair attended the address and was recognized in the House gallery.
Kemp also touted his proposed investment of $15 million to provide $3,000 in reimbursement grants to paraprofessionals who gain certification through the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP) program. The aim of the reimbursement program is to add nearly 5,000 new teachers.
Boosting the HOPE scholarship awards and the HOPE grant to 100 percent of tuition was another education item Kemp highlighted. He said this will provide about $1,000 more in financial aid to students. The need for affordable workforce housing, continued economic development, and public safety enhancements were other prominent themes in Kemp’s address.
Lawmakers have begun their review of Kemp’s Amended FY 2023 and FY 2024 budget proposals. The PAGE legislative team will provide updates as legislators continue their work.