HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Throughout the pandemic, many educators left the classroom, citing burnout and low pay. Now, Alabama lawmakers are calling for a pay raise. The new education budget approved by the Alabama Senate offers almost all educators a pay raise, the pay scale incentivizes teacher experience.

“We need to show educators that we need them, that we need to retain them, and we need to attract new educators to come in to teaching our children,” Alabama Senator Arthur Orr told News 19.

Orr said he believes pay increases will help keep teachers in the classroom and improve the education system in Alabama.

“If you pay for quality as far as educational instruction, it will show up in how well your children are able to achieve once they graduate and as they go through their educational process,” Orr said.

The current budget only gives teachers the opportunity for a 2% pay raise every three years, and teacher’s salaries are capped after 27 years as an educator.

“Imagine how frustrating that is with 7% inflation, not seeing a pay raise but every third year,” Orr said.

After 25-plus years in the classroom, Orr said teachers with a Bachelors degree only see about a $15,000 salary increase from their starting rate of $43,000.

“Those folks who’ve have been with us for twenty, twenty-five, thirty years, they need to be reward and adequately compensated,” Orr said.

Under the new plan, all teachers would receive a 4% raise, and those with nine or more years of experience can expect between a 7% and 20% increase in salary. The salary threshold would also be extended from 27 years to 35 years of experience.

The education budget is currently under review in the Alabama House. If it passes, the new teacher pay scale would take effect on October 1.