LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The focus of many lawmakers this legislative session continues to be on education.
In Wednesday’s Senate Education Committee meeting, State Sen. Greg Leding proposed a bill that would raise pay for classified school staff.
This would apply to cafeteria workers, custodians, office administration and others who keep schools running.
Leding said they cannot just focus on raising teacher pay this session, but everyone who cares for students in schools.
His legislation would increase school funding by $4 an hour for classified staff.
Both Republicans and Democrats in the meeting seemed to show support for rewarding the employees, though ultimately the committee tabled the bill and decided to come back to it after Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ omnibus education bill is complete.
The bill, known as the LEARNS Act, still has not been released and is in its final stages before being proposed to lawmakers.
Sen. Breanne Davis said these raises are in the governor’s bill
“I think it’s important that we wait and deal with this as we already intend to in the education bill, and we’ll see those foundation funding increases at that time,” Davis said.
Leding said he was not aware this would be in the bill, considering it was not part of the original announcement that included the major parts of the bill. He added that he is hopeful the raises for classified staff in the bill will be competitive, and as high as what he has proposed.
“Hopefully with the conversation we had today, they will be encouraged to meet us at $4 at least for classified staff, because these are professionals who deserve meaningful pay raises,” Leding said.
If the committee decides they prefer Leding’s bill over what is proposed for classified staff in the omnibus bill, they can pick the legislation back up and try to pass it again in committee.