Tennessee raises teacher base pay to $38,000

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / "Hamilton County Schools" is seen on the side of a new school bus at the Hamilton County Department of Education on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Tennessee Board of Education approved last week a new salary schedule that will increase by $2,000 the base pay for teachers with a bachelor's degree and no experience.

Tennessee teachers with a bachelor's degree and no teaching experience will be paid an annual minimum of $38,000 beginning with the new school year, a $2,000 increase over the last two years.

The new salary schedule, approved last week by the State Board of Education, means the minimum pay will also go up by $2,000 for teachers with advanced degrees and additional years of experience.

The increases will help the state's lowest paid public school teachers, whose local districts provide the state's minimum required salary. The Department of Education estimates the change will affect about 5,200 out of nearly 63,000 educators.

The uptick is possible under a new state budget taking effect July 1. Gov. Bill Lee and the legislature invested $120 million more toward educator salaries and benefits, a 4% funding increase from a year ago.