JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – One Missouri lawmaker has introduced a bill to raise the state’s minimum teacher salary from one of the lowest marks in the nation.

The current minimum salary for Missouri teachers is $25,000. According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for Missouri teachers around $33,200, the lowest among all 50 U.S. states.

State Rep. Ed Lewis (R-Moberly) introduced HB 189 last week, which calls to raise Missouri’s minimum salary for teachers gradually to $34,000 by 2024 and $38,000 by 2026. The bill also calls on the state to raise the minimum salary for a teacher with a Master’s degree and at least 10 years of experience to $42,000 by 2024 and $46,000 by 2026.

According to the bill, beyond the 2026-27 school year, “the minimum teacher salary base
will be adjusted annually” for Missouri teachers based on inflation rates.

Prior to the new legislative session, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requested the General Assembly to use Missouri’s billion-dollar surplus to give educators a raise. It could come with a hefty price tag, as one teacher retention report estimated it could cost around $29.5 million to increase the wages for thousands of teachers currently paid below the long-term goal of $38,000.

DESE is hopeful raises could help the state fill more than 3,000 vacancies at Missouri public schools and keep the opportunities competitive with other states. Per NEA data, the average salary for Missouri teachers is around $51,500, which ranks fourth-worst among U.S. states.

Lewis’ bill has already had two readings, but has yet to advance further. Another hearing over the legislation has not yet been scheduled.