It looks like Nashville is finally getting serious about addressing their woefully inadequate teacher pay. Or, at least they are talking about it. The Tennessean reports that the Metro Nashville school board is taking up the issue of pay for teachers and all system staff.
Boosting the salaries of Nashville teachers to match the city’s median income would cost more than $100 million a year.
Although just an example detailed in a pay study released by Metro Nashville Public Schools on Friday, it represents the high figure the district would need to fix a pay system educators say is flawed and causing teachers to leave.
For example, Majors presented a possible scenario in which the district would pay mid-career teachers about $64,000 a year — comparable to Nashville’s median income. The increase in salary for all teachers of all experience levels would mean an annual infusion of $100 million to fix the district’s pay schedule.
The discussion on teacher pay in MNPS is long overdue. Also long overdue: Actual action by the School Board and Metro Council to increase pay.
It’s been clear for some time now that teacher pay in Nashville is a crisis:
Attracting and retaining teachers will become increasingly more difficult if MNPS doesn’t do more to address the inadequacy of it’s salaries. The system was not paying competitively relative to its peers two years ago, and Nashville’s rapid growth has come with a rising cost of living. Does Nashville value it’s teachers enough to pay them a comfortable salary? Or, will Nashville let cities like Louisville continue to best them in teacher compensation?
That was written in 2017. The story notes a 2015 analysis of teacher pay in Nashville. That analysis found Nashville significantly behind similar urban districts in pay. The MNPS board and Metro Council did basically nothing with that information. We’ve seen Mayors Dean, Barry, and Briley barely touch the issue. We’ve yet to see Mayor Cooper talk about a plan to boost pay in a meaningful way.
IF the issue gets addressed in the upcoming budget cycle, it will be August of 2020 before Nashville teachers see a meaningful boost in their paychecks. That’s five years after teacher pay in Nashville was reported to be at near crisis levels. It’s after allowing things like this to happen:
Hundreds of parents with children in Metro Nashville Public Schools had letters sent home this week telling them that their kids were having to take online courses in the classroom due to a teacher shortage.
It’s after school districts like Williamson County have made consistent improvements to salary and districts like Sumner County have approved a big pay bump.
It’s great to see the district finally take a look at a problem they’ve known about for years. It’s absolutely necessary that instead of just talking about it, the School Board, Council, and Mayor actually do something.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport