HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Two proposals hope to boost the number of teachers in Connecticut classrooms.

“Unlike any other time in history, we have big thinking with money and resources available,” Connecticut Education Association President Kate Dias said. “So, we have the capacity to make change happen.”

The Connecticut Education Association held a news conference on Wednesday to discuss how to recruit and retain teachers amid a nationwide shortage.

“They are all teaching extra courses, so instead of teaching five periods, they’re often teaching six to seven periods per day in the middle and high schools,” said Kevin Egan, a Waterbury teacher. “In the elementary level, with the shortage of teachers there, they’re constantly getting more kids in their classrooms.”

One proposal would boost salaries to create a statewide minimum of about $60,000 a year.

That would impact all teachers currently in the profession.

“What people often don’t understand is that shifts everybody,” Dias said. “That idea that if you enter and start the salary higher, that that is going to have an impact on everyone in the district — from first-year teachers to veteran teachers.”

Olivia Deloach, a senior at Mitchell College, supports the bills. Deloach said the low pay that comes with teaching has made her second-guess her career choice.

“I’ve really just gone back and forth — salaries, working conditions, things like that,” she said. “All things you should take into account no matter what your profession is.”

The report below is from News 8 at 5 on March 15, 2023.