Arkansas governor hopeful calls for teacher salary increase

Jared Henderson (Photo: Jared Henderson for Governor 2018)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP/KATV) -- Arkansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Henderson says he plans to raise minimum pay for teachers by an initial 10 percent with the ultimate goal of making Arkansas teachers the highest paid in the nation, when adjusted for the cost of living.

Henderson said Thursday that following the initial 10 percent raise, he will call for 3.6 percent salary increases for nine subsequent years. In the short term, Henderson says he would fund the pay increase by reallocating money from a tax cut proposed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Henderson offered no specifics for long-term funding but suggested lowering correction spending.

Henderson also says he wants to increase teacher incentives with more competitive healthcare plans and loan forgiveness options, but gave few specifics on how he would achieve those goals.

Jamie Barker, a communications director with Governor Hutchinson's campaign team, released the following statement in response to Henderson's plans:

"Mr. Henderson is yet another out of touch liberal who wants to base increased spending on speculation and abandoning our commitment to public safety. The Governor's plan to increase starting teacher pay to the highest in the region while also making our income tax rates competitive is building on what he has accomplished in his first term when we raised teacher pay twice & cut taxes for over 90% of working class Arkansans."

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