Teachers in Nashville have called out of work as part of an ongoing protest. The protest is about the teachers getting larger pay raises.
Across the Metro Nashville Public School district, more than 1,000 teachers called out of work on Friday in protest. The protest had been ongoing, but what triggered this Mayor David Briley’s unveiling of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget proposal stated that there will be a $28.2 million increase for Nashville public schools’ operating budget. While this seems like a great win for the teachers, it would actually only be enough to cover a 3% cost of living raise for all school employees.
This comes as a loss for the schools, seeing as they requested a raise of $76.7 million for their budget. This would be enough to cover a 10% raise for all employees.
What’s good for teachers is that the spending plan must still win over the approval of Metro Council, giving them a shot at increasing the budget.
The upcoming fiscal year begins on July 1st, so there isn’t much time left for a change.
The president-elect for the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, Amanda Kail, stated that the teaches absences are meant to be a stand against the proposed budget.
A representative of the Metro Schools reported that there was a total of 1,431 absences based on school records.
“Of that number, 1,091 are teachers,” Metro Nashville Public Schools spokeswoman Dawn Rutledge said.
The outstanding number is higher than ever before, the teachers standing up against the proposed budget that they’re unhappy with.
School officials were forced to warn parents Thursday night about the teacher absences. Officials said in the announcement to parents that they would do their best to cover all classes.
At some schools, like McGavock High School, parents were picking up their children early from school. The students reported that they were released early.
At McGavock High School, there was over 120 teachers who were absent on Friday.
Rutledge said that to her knowledge, schools continued to stay in session despite the absences.
“We know some parents have chosen to pick up their kids, but I have not heard of any reports of schools calling parents to pick up kids,” she said, “I don’t know the circumstances, if they’re picking them up because of this or if they have doctor’s appointments.”
There’s a total of about 5,000 teachers working in the Metro district area.
A spokesperson for the Mayor said that he’s aware of the teachers concerns, and assures that he will find a way to increase pay “through a multi-year approach.”
Teachers aren’t willing to wait this long though.
“You have to understand that teachers haven’t had a cost-of-living or a significant raise, depending on how you define significant, in 10 to 15 years,” said Kail. “People are getting pretty fed up.”
She said that the protest signals the growing frustration within the teachers community.