New bill could give Alabama teachers a pay raise

WAAY 31 found out what teachers in Limestone County think about the possible increase.

Posted: May 29, 2019 7:36 PM

We’re hearing from local teachers after the state legislature passed a bill that would give educators a 4% pay raise.

The bill is now on Governor Kay Ivey’s desk, waiting to be signed.

WAAY 31 found out what teachers in Limestone County think about the possible increase.

“Most people have no clue what the life of a teacher is like," Tom Stevenson said. "It is a roller coaster unlike anything you’ve ever even thought about.”

Over the course of 35 years, Tom Stevenson taught thousands of students at four different schools in Limestone County.

“We shouldn’t have to discipline and raise other people’s children; but, the fact is, in many cases, we do," he said.

Almost every day at school, Stevenson said he faced a new challenge, but that didn’t make him love his job any less.

“The hours that it takes, the mental and emotional stress and strain it puts on you," he said. "But most of us could say we wouldn’t change it. It’s what we were put here to do.”

Speaking from personal experience, Stevenson said teachers often go into their own pockets to buy supplies for their classrooms. And that’s not all.

“Paid for a kids’ lunch, bought a kid a coat, paid for a child or two who couldn’t afford to go on a field trip," he said.

Not to mention, Stevenson told WAAY 31 teachers have also had to become bodyguards.

“He pulled a gun out, pointed it at me, and said, ‘Get out.’ I said, ‘I can’t leave you with my kids. My kids!’”

That’s why Stevenson believes teachers deserve every penny of the 4% pay raise that Governor Kay Ivey is expected to sign.

“You still have the same bills to pay as everybody else," he said. "At the end of the month, you’ve got to pay rent or a house payment. You’ve got to feed yourself, you’ve got to cloth yourself, you’ve got to have some type of transportation to do your job.”

The increase would make starting pay for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree nearly $41,000.

“A pat on the back is a good reward, an ‘attaboy’ is a good reward, but it doesn’t pay the bills," Stevenson said.

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