GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Governor Greg Gianforte this morning signed the TEACH Act into law at Sacajawea Elementary School in Great Falls.
The TEACH Act, or Tomorrow’s Educators Are Coming Home Act, provides $2.5 million in incentives to improve starting teacher pay. Currently, Montana has the lowest average starting teacher pay in the country.
“This new law will help increase starting teacher pay and make it easier for tomorrow’s educators to stay in Montana or come back home,” Governor Gianforte said. “Democrats and Republicans in the legislature delivered on this bill to strengthen our classrooms and communities. This new law is a promising step forward as we lead the Montana comeback. I thank Superintendent Arntzen for her support Representative Jones for sponsoring the TEACH Act.”
Sponsored by Rep. Llew Jones (R-Conrad), the bipartisan TEACH Act is a signature element of the governor’s Roadmap to the Montana Comeback budget. Governor Gianforte campaigned on increasing starting teacher pay and emphasized its importance in his State of the State address in January.
Before signing the TEACH Act, Governor Gianforte read Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham to a classroom of first-grade students.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen and Representative Jones joined Governor Gianforte for the bill signing.
“I celebrate today’s signing of the TEACH Act into law. Recruitment and retention of quality classroom teachers has been and remains my priority. As a 23 year public school teacher, I applaud Governor Gianforte’s innovative efforts to fulfill the promise to Montana students,” Arntzen said.
“Beginning teacher pay in Montana is dead last in the nation. The goal of the TEACH Act is to incentivize local schools to pay beginning teachers more so we can keep new educators in the state. I appreciate Governor Gianforte signing this overwhelmingly bipartisan measure into law," Rep. Jones said.
The TEACH Act passed the Montana Senate 50-0 and the Montana House of Representatives 95-2.