In consultation with school districts, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has determined that 40,991 teachers and teacher assistants are eligible for the state-funded, $1,500 pay raise. The number of teaching positions is an increase from the original estimate of 31,157. The additional cost of the teacher pay raise is $18.5 million. After determining the original estimated cost of the teacher pay raise, the MDE conducted an additional review of the total number of state-funded teaching positions. During that review, the MDE determined there are additional state-funded teaching positions that the Mississippi Student Information System (MSIS) does not capture as MAEP-funded positions. The MDE subsequently worked with districts to identify and verify every eligible state-funded position. The expanded list of teaching positions eligible for the pay raise goes beyond classroom teachers, counselors, teacher assistants and librarians to include specialized positions such as dyslexia therapists, intervention specialists, audiologists and psychologists, among others. Districts will be allocated enough money through the current appropriation to cover the monthly cost of the teacher pay raise. The MDE will continue to work with legislative leaders to secure a deficit appropriation in January to fully fund the pay raise. “This is the most comprehensive pay raise the Legislature has approved and is intended to provide Mississippi educators with a well-deserved raise,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. Previous teacher pay raises were allocated to districts through MAEP, which is the state’s school funding formula. Based on input from district superintendents, this year the MDE asked the Legislature to appropriate the FY20 teacher pay raise as a separate line item from MAEP so that each school district could clearly see that adequate funds had been appropriated to cover the pay raise. The total cost of 40,991 educators receiving a $1,500 pay raise and associated fringe benefits is $76.9 million.