SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The Utah Senate today unanimously passed a bill that would annually adjust a teacher’s pay raise to keep up with inflation and the state’s per-pupil funding.

Sponsored by Sen. Evan Vickers (R-Cedar City), S.B. 183 acts as a companion bill to H.B. 215, which will increase teacher compensation by about $6,000.

The compensation bill was recently signed into law by the governor, but legislators raised concerns that the pay raises will not be adjusted in accordance with inflation or the increase of the Weighted Pupil Unit value. The Weighted Pupil Unit value refers to funding the state allocates for each student within the public education system.

The proposed S.B. 183 will require annual salary increases for educators to reflect the WPU unit each year instead of remaining stagnant at $4,200 in pay and $1,800 in benefits, as previously mandated by H.B. 215.

“S.B. 183 will have a positive, long-lasting impact on teachers by enabling the pay raises in H.B. 215 to increase automatically,” Vickers said. “In the Legislature, education is our priority. Teachers across our great state do a fantastic job educating children, and I want them to feel our deep appreciation for their dedicated work.”

The amendment bill will also prohibit salary increases for educators who have received an “unsatisfactory rating” on their three most recent evaluations. Currently, only one unsatisfactory rating is required for ineligibility for the Teacher Salary Supplement Program.

“Teachers are the backbone of education,” said Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights). “I am excited about this piece of legislation and the support it shows to the education community. With increased pay, we will be able to retain and encourage more teachers in years to come.”

Now that the bill has cleared the Utah Senate, it will be moving to House for consideration.