Thursday, June 7, 2012

Register Pushes for Higher Teacher Pay at Metro Council Budget Hearing

Posted By on Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 7:03 AM

Jesse Register
  • Jesse Register
As the City Paper's Joey Garrison reports, Metro Director of Schools Jesse Register addressed a Metro Council budget hearing Wednesday, pushing for lifting Metro's starting teacher salaries from approximately $35,000 to $40,000, in an effort to more effectively compete with other cities in attracting top teachers to the district.

The hearing lasted nearly five hours, and came on the heels of Tuesday's three-hour standing-room-only public hearing on Mayor Karl Dean's proposed property tax hike, a portion of which would fund the pay increase.

From the City Paper:

“Increasing our teacher salary,” Register said, “sends a very clear message that Nashville means business when it comes to getting the best teachers for all of our children.”

Lifting Metro’s starting teachers’ salaries to $40,000 from approximately $35,000 has emerged as one of the focal points of Mayor Karl Dean’s proposed $1.71 billion budget, which relies on a 53-cent property tax increase. The council will consider Dean’s budget and tax hike for a final vote later this month.

Register and the mayor are looking to increase the schools’ budget to $720.4 million over the next fiscal year, a $48.6 million bump, a big chunk of which would be devoted to teacher pay. Both men have said Metro would emerge as third-highest paying district in Tennessee, up from 30th today.

According to Register, Nashville’s teacher pay would begin to “compete with other districts around the nation.” He listed a handful of cities and their salaries: Atlanta, $44,000; Houston, $45,000; Louisville, $39,000; and Memphis, $41,000.

“We are not only in competition with other Tennessee school systems for the best teachers,” Register said. “We are in competition with other states and other salaries.”

Seeing how Nashville's teacher salaries compare to those in other major cities is eye-opening to say the least. Read the rest of Garrison's story here.

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