Teachers, you're getting a raise! - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Teachers, you're getting a raise!

May 9, 2006

Colquitt County - For the first time since Governor Perdue took office, teachers will get a 4% pay raise. They'll also get money for classroom supplies and they won't have to shell out any extra for health care.

You've probably never heard anyone say, 'I want to be a teacher to get rich'. The average starting salary for an educator in Georgia, almost $34,000. But for most, it's not about the money. It's about the students. "We are not here for the money," says Colquitt County High School teacher Judy Holwell. She says she's here for the kids, but the extra money isn't bad either.

She says, "It's always worth it, yes. The raise is just icing on the cake. We are not here for the money."

It's not always easy teaching. There's take home work, meetings after hours and during the summer, with little recognition. And sometimes, they must repeat the same lesson over and over.

But when the students get it, the teachers get their reward says Akida Clay. "I really love students," she says. "I love teaching. I love English and I feel like I can make a difference. I enjoy trying to make a difference in the lives of students."

And because these teachers are making differences, but not necessarily big bucks, the state has chosen to give them a helping hand, fiscally. Clay says, "It definitely feels as though it's a reward for teaching."

The raises will cost Colquitt County extra money, but Superintendent Leonard McCoy says the school board planned for them in the budget and they will not need to consider a tax increase.

The Governor also approved using millions of dollars to expand three south Georgia colleges. Darton College received about $5 million for a new nursing and health sciences building.

Enrollment in Darton's nursing program has more than double. The building will allow the college to offer more nursing classes and an online program. It will also house new labs and an upgraded cardiovascular technology program.

Albany Tech was allocated $1.8 million for its new construction academy. The Carlton family donated the building, so the money will be used to buy equipment needed to start several new programs.

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