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Russellville School District raises teacher pay to $45,000

The topic of teacher pay has been at the top of many educators' minds. Now, the Russellville School District has begun to take steps to raise pay for their teachers.

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. — This has been a very busy week for many educators across Arkansas. 

With the school year set to begin soon, Laura Tucker a math teacher at Russellville High School said she's almost ready.

"This will be my 34th year," Tucker said.

She's seen plenty of students come and go, as she has taught math over the years. There's one number that hasn't changed a lot in her time teaching– and that number is the educator pay across the state.

"To be honest, I know it was less than $18,000," Tucker said, about her salary when she started. "I've gotten to see a huge gain in teacher pay."

That number has been at the front of many Arkansas educators' minds for a while now. 

Protests and demonstrations have become common – there's even been pushes to include the topic of teacher pay during the upcoming special session.

But there's one thing Tucker won't have to worry about when school starts next week.

"Knowing you're valued in that manner, to be compensated in that way is just an amazing feeling to experience," Tucker said.

Starting this school year, all teachers in the Russellville School District will make a minimum of $45,000, and all staff will also receive a $1,000 bonus.

"I think that you'll hear that this is a great way to start their school year," Dr. Ginni McDonald, Superintendent for the Russellville School District, said. "They're even more excited no matter what year they're in, whether they're in year 30 or year 10."

Dr. McDonald also added that while this will obviously benefit their current teachers, it also helps bring others in.

"One of our board's goals is to be the choice, a district of choice," she said. "We certainly want to support, and value our teachers in our district."

Tucker mentioned that normally, this would be a crazy time for her – and now, she's got one less thing to worry about.

"I am just so, so happy to be where I am right now," Tucker said. "This is just an amazing start to a fantastic school year."


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