Nashville can’t live without its teachers, but it seems the city’s leaders can’t live with the idea of actually paying them. While the need to improve pay for teachers has been clear for years, Mayor Cooper recently announced yet another study to determine what can be done with teacher pay. Now, Nashville finds itself in a budget crisis, short the money needed to meet this year’s obligations. That crisis has caused some to question whether the funds for a promised mid-year teacher raise will actually be available.
Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers union leaders are worried that an anticipated 3% raise for educators in January may be in danger after comments from Mayor John Cooper’s administration Friday evening.
The concern was exacerbated by a weak statement from Mayor Cooper’s office:
“In light of the Comptroller’s report this week, we are doing everything possible to make the raise happen. The finance director is working with MNPS to determine the sources of funds.”
Additionally, at-large Metro Councilman Bob Mendes took to Twitter this weekend to explain how the promised raise came about and indicate a bit of a conflict in terms of whether it should be given:
Here’s the bottom line: Metro Nashville has been giving tax breaks to developers and companies like Amazon for years now. These tax giveaways mean new revenue from growth is already spent. Simultaneously, Nashville has been ignoring the looming crisis in teacher compensation. Now, those two trains are colliding.
The next question: If there’s no raise for teachers in January, will there be teachers in classrooms in January?
Nashville has teachers with nothing to win and now nothing left to lose.
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