Teachers, political opponent sound off on Arkansas senator’s opinion over salaries

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 7:38 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - An Arkansas senator is facing mounting criticism from teachers after he posted his thoughts on increasing pay for teachers.

An original post by Dan Sullivan on Tuesday, July 12 stated the following:

“Why would you complain to legislators about spend your own money on classroom supplies while districts spend big $$$$$ on uniforms, extra curricular activities, sports stadiums etc? Seem like that would be a local issue?”

On Sunday, July 17, Sullivan updated his post:

Teachers rightfully & understandably complain to legislators about spending their own money on classroom supplies while...

Posted by Dan Sullivan on Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Teachers commented on the post, saying Sullivan is “ignorant”, “disrespectful”, and “tone deaf”.

His opponent, Chenoa Summers, said those comments are hurtful as an educator.

“I take offense at the way he presented himself towards educators in particular who are professionals,” she said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the legislature would not address the teacher pay crisis in its August special session.

Summers disagrees, adding this is something that cannot wait.

“I would advocate, first of all, for teachers raise, because it’s unlivable right now what they’re being paid, but to also bump up the base salary as well because we need to attract talent and keep it here,” she said.

For a solution, Summers said she supports Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones’s plan, which suggests the state use a portion of its $1.6 billion surplus to increase teacher salaries.

“We could bump it up to what he proposed, which is $50,000,” she said. “That would be amazing. I would definitely tackle that first.”

Region 8 News has reached out to Sullivan for an on-camera interview, but he did not reply.

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