HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — The Alabama Senate has approved a raise and new salary schedule for teachers, as part of the education budget, and supporters say the moves will help state schools retain quality, experienced teachers.

Alabama Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur led the effort, which now needs to be reconciled with the House education budget.

“I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for,” Orr told News 19 Thursday. We’ve got a teacher shortage in Alabama and if we don’t adequately compensate classroom educators, we’ll never be able to attract and retain well-qualified teachers.”

The 4% pay raise for teachers and support personnel was called for by Gov. Kay Ivey and legislators are poised to make that happen.

Another major change is set for the state’s salary matrix for teachers. The measure creates annual 1 percent raises for teachers starting in year nine of their careers. The current system calls for raises every three years. The new approach not only increases the pace of raises but creates a new higher floor for teacher salaries.  The measure also ends the current salary cap which has been set at 27 years. Currently, teachers after year 27 don’t get a raise unless there’s a special provision.  The measure is expected to generate raises for teachers between 4 and 15 percent — the larger numbers are for more experienced teachers under the new salary matrix. The pay change begins Oct. 1.

The expected pay increase comes after a tremendously stressful past two years for teachers, said Beverly Sims, the Alabama Education Association’s District 3 director, which includes Madison County and Madison City schools.

“I think this will be a great reward for them,” Sims said Thursday. “Although I will tell you, that not one of them, did anything above and beyond because they expected extra money, they did it because they love their students and they love public education.

Read the entire proposed bill here:

“The salary matrix corrections I think is really the biggest thing this year. We’re extremely excited that everybody across the board gets 4 percent, and I know everybody always wants to talk about teachers, but that 4 percent also includes our support personnel, and if anybody deserves more money, this year, it’s our support personnel.”