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Two Bills In State Legislature Could Ease Teacher Shortage, Maryland Education Association Says

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- There are two bills in the state legislature that the Maryland State Education Association says would help with the ongoing teacher shortage crisis.

Maryland teachers are advocating for smaller class sizes.

"I've taught in situations where I had 36-40 students," 2017 Maryland Teacher Of the Year Sia Kyriakakos said. "It was inhumane and unsafe to boot. At the time, I wondered if anybody actually cared if I was teaching content to my kids."

They're also advocating for bonuses for support staff because many of them make less than $35,000 a year.

"School support staff are the backbone of the safe, healthy, supportive learning and working environment that must exist if educators and students are to succeed," SEIU Local 500 President Pia Morrison said.

The Maryland State Education Association said those two things could help with the staffing shortage crisis they've been dealing with for years.

Thursday, the association met with the lawmakers behind two bills in the state legislature that address these issues.

One of the bills would give $500 bonuses to education support professionals such as cafeteria workers, security and maintenance staff.

The other would make class sizes smaller depending on grade level.

"It's better for the kids and the teachers to be able to have more equitable class sizes and handle it better and the kids will learn better," Baltimore parent Allie Nestadt said. "Teachers won't burn out as fast."

"They just deserve better than we're giving them because they're literally raising our youth," Nestadt said.

The bill that includes bonuses for support staff would give them $500 a year for two years. It would also establish a workgroup to find ways to increase their salary long-term.

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