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Teachers fear lighter paychecks next August

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Teachers are facing the real possibility of lighter paychecks next August.

"It's unlikely that teachers will have worked 1/12 of their contract in August. So under the state constitution, districts would not be allowed to pay teachers for 1/12 of the of their contract," explained Kelly Riley, Executive Director of the Mississippi Professional Educators.

That could add up to more than 500 dollars missing in some bank accounts. It's a question that's now been raised to Attorney General Jim Hood. His opinion says school employees can't be paid for time they haven't already worked.

Riley says that's not setting well with teachers.

"There's been a large outcry," said Riley. "I've probably received more emails about this particular issue than any other over the course of the summer and beginning of the school year."

Rep. John Moore chairs the House Education Committee and says the question of a pay impact wasn't brought up until recently.

"It's been a problem that has been created, manufactured if you will, that was not a problem and I don't know where the genesis of the problem is," said Moore.

Despite the questions, Moore says, don't worry.

"Reassure the teachers out there that they're going to be paid just like they've always been paid," Moore said.

That would require changes.

"We're working with the Attorney General's office to make sure that we have some proper language in the law," said Moore. "Of course, if we can't do that, then we will just undo whatever is necessary."

Moore and other lawmakers say they'll get any corrections made at the beginning of the session in January. Meanwhile, school employees are left wondering if they'll need to readjust their budget next August.

"Any change in take-home pay will be a significant impact on a family," said Kelly Riley.

If you're wondering about June and July, those paychecks are considered back pay for the work done between August and May.

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