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Task force begins work to address First State teacher compensation

Delaware Public Media

After sitting atop Gov. Jack Markell’s to-do list for the past two years, state lawmakers and officials are now looking at raising public teacher salaries.

Markell has mentioned the need to retain teachers who want to stay in the classroom in his past two State of the State Addresses.

A new task force created at the end of the General Assembly last month met for the first time Wednesday to address the issue.

Rep. Harvey Kenton (R-Milford) called current salary levels “embarrassing”. Sen. Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) agreed, but says any solution will be tough in what looks like another tough budget year.

“If the governor is really going to push this, he’s going to have to do a lot of legwork in selling this to the Joint Finance Committee and saying, ‘I’m willing to trade ‘x’ for higher teacher salaries.’”

Initial discussions gravitated towards tying higher salaries with taking on more responsibility and acting in a leadership role.

The task force set an aggressive meeting schedule, with its report due to the General Assembly November 15th.