From The Gadsden Times:
State Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, wants to raise the salaries of some Alabama teachers.
We think his heart’s in the right place, but his aim might be a bit faulty.
Williams said he’ll introduce a bill in the 2012 legislative session to give a 2.5 percent cost of living raise to teachers with less than nine years on the job.
That would cover the first three steps on the salary scale — about 37 percent of Alabama’s teachers, according to Williams — and would cost about $22 million.
Williams stressed that the intention would be to cover other teachers at some point.
He said while he’d like for everyone to get an immediate raise — something teachers haven’t had in at least four years, and the bite has gotten worse thanks to increased benefit and retirement costs — and is open to suggestions on how to cover more people, the money just isn’t there for an across-the-board increase.
His plan brought roars of protest from his fellow Etowah County delegation member, House Minority Leader Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, who called it “insane,” “disrespectful” and an “insult to teachers’ intelligence,” and an example of a “divide and conquer strategy.” Ford said if some teachers receive raises, then all teachers and state employees should.
Scrape away the hyperbole and rhetoric, and Ford sounds more like a union leader than a legislator. And we don’t agree, given what teachers have faced in recent years, that if there’s only enough money to include some, all should do without.
Williams is offering a realistic and achievable proposal to help this situation, and appears willing to consider any options that would make the proposal better.