Tennessee governor signs historic bill to raise teacher pay, protect taxpayer dollars



On May 18, 2023, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee marked the signing of the Teacher Paycheck Protection Act, a landmark bill that will give teachers the largest pay raise in state history and protect Tennessee teachers and taxpayers by ensuring that union membership dues are no longer collected by school districts. 

“Teaching is more than just a career - it’s a calling,” said Gov. Lee. “The Teacher Paycheck Protection Act provides the largest salary increase in Tennessee history and ensures union dues are no longer collected by school districts, giving teachers control of their own hard-earned paycheck. I thank the General Assembly for their continued partnership to support Tennessee teachers and ensure taxpayer dollars are used to educate students, not fund politics.”

The Teacher Paycheck Protection Act continues Gov. Lee’s commitment to increase teacher pay each year since taking office and will support students and teachers by:

•Making Tennessee a top-10 state for teacher pay to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers

•Raising the minimum teacher salary to $50,000 by 2026, a significant increase from $35,000 in 2019

•Protecting teachers and taxpayers by ensuring that union membership dues are never automatically deducted from teacher paychecks

Gov. Lee appreciates the Tennessee General Assembly’s partnership to invest in teachers and protect taxpayer dollars:

“Teachers are tasked with the incredibly important job of educating the next generation,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R - Franklin). “This legislation recognizes the importance of teachers’ work by raising their pay and protecting their paychecks. It will also enhance the quality of our education system by helping attract and retain talented teachers. I am grateful to Senator Powers for helping pass this legislation in the Senate and appreciate Governor Lee for proposing this initiative.”

“When we invest in the people who guide, teach and nurture our students, it pays big dividends down the road,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R - Portland). “The efforts of Governor Lee and the General Assembly to prioritize students and elevate the teaching profession will prove to be transformative for our state. We are investing in education at every level in Tennessee. By providing competitive compensation, we will create a pipeline of highly effective and talented individuals eager to become educators.”

“Through this legislation we are reinforcing our commitment to Tennessee teachers and improving education,” said Senator Bill Powers (R - Clarksville). “These pay raises will help recruit talented individuals and mitigate teacher shortages. I was glad to work with Governor Lee, Leader Johnson and my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important initiative. I look forward to continuing our work to support Tennessee teachers.”

“Tennessee’s teachers inspire, empower and transform the lives of students across our state each year,” said State Representative Debra Moody (R - Covington). “These dedicated individuals should receive the compensation they deserve. The Tennessee Teacher Paycheck Protection Act represents the largest salary increase for educators in our state’s history. It also protects tax dollars from being used to benefit organizations like labor unions. I was honored to help guide passage of this important piece of legislation to help Tennessee become one of the top states in the nation for teacher pay.”


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