More than 200,000 Georgia teachers have received letters in recent months threatening termination if they don’t change their teaching methods or pay the mandated salary increases they have received in the past few years.
Many of the teachers are raising concerns that they will lose their jobs and pay higher salaries as a result of the state’s new teacher pay system.
State education officials have defended the new policy as a way to increase the state income tax revenue that is used to pay for the state schools.
However, teachers are questioning the impact on their paychecks.
The Georgia Department of Education says the increases are meant to help pay for new construction projects.
However many of the letter recipients say that their salaries are already too low and that they can’t afford to pay the higher increases.
A spokesperson for the Department of Human Resources and Administration told CNN that the new system is “designed to bring Georgia’s economy and job creation to a higher level.”
He added that the salary increases will “provide greater stability to the state budget.”
The Department of Labor says that the system was approved in response to a request from the Georgia State Teachers Association.
In a letter to the union, the department said the new wage increase is “not necessary” and is only meant to pay higher paychecks to teachers who earn more than the minimum wage.
However, the letter says the new salary system was created for two reasons.
First, to provide a more uniform base for the salary distribution in the state.
The letter adds that the Department is “proud to support this goal by using a single payer system.”
However the letter also says that it was made “to avoid excessive cost increases to the State.”
In response to the new teacher system, the Georgia Education Association said that teachers should be concerned because it is “a massive transfer of money to the private sector.”
Georgia’s legislature is scheduled to discuss the teacher pay raises at a special session in the coming days.