The Wilson Post reports that the Wilson County Commission is asking voters to decide on a sales tax increase on the March 3rd ballot, with any proceeds from increased revenue being dedicated to teacher pay raises:
The Wilson County Commission voted unanimously Monday night to put a one-half percent sales tax increase into the hands of voters, this time tying the increase to higher salaries for county teachers.
At the monthly commission meeting, District 6 Commissioner Kenny Reich made a motion to amend the resolution so that any additional revenue would be designated for teacher pay raises. The original resolution did not specify a use for the increased money.
If passed the county sales tax would increase to 9.75 percent from 9.25 percent. The one-half percent increase is the maximum increase allowed under state law. If passed the sales tax on a $100 item would increase 50 cents.
The move comes as Wilson County is feeling the impact of the national teacher shortage, driven in part by low pay for educators. Additionally, new reports indicate teacher pay in Tennessee has actually fallen over the last decade when adjusted for inflation. Wilson County also suffers from a pay scale tied to teacher value-added scores.
Director of Schools Donna Wright noted that a pay raise was essential to keep Wilson County competitive with neighboring districts. A pay raise of $4000 for every teacher in nearby Sumner County goes into effect in January.
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