Metro Schools support staff set for small raise in next year’s budget

More money and more respect. That is what Metro Nashville Public Schools support staff employees are requesting.
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 11:47 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - More money and more respect. That is what Metro Nashville Public Schools support staff employees are requesting.

On Tuesday, the school board will meet to discuss the budget and employee pay for the upcoming school year.

A couple of support staff members said they believe the district and city need to be doing more to take care of Metro Schools employees.

“I have invested 30 years of my life taking care of our babies,” Metro Schools employee Angela Perry said. “I am still nowhere further that the day I walked in the door.”

Perry said for the three decades she has been with Metro Schools, she’s raised her own children having to work two jobs.

“I only had one year that I only worked one job because I wanted to know if we could make it. We couldn’t,” Perry said.

The paraprofessional said she makes $22 an hour. On a good month, Perry will take home about $1,800 after taxes. Almost all of that is spent on her $1,600 rent.

“Am I going to pay my light bill or am I going to pay my water bill?” Perry said. “Am I going to buy groceries or pay my car note?”

Donna Clay works in the cafeteria at a Metro school. She makes around the same as Perry. They both feel unappreciated.

“We touch a lot of lives,” Clay said. “They remember that teacher, but they also remember that cafeteria worker or gentleman. They remember us.”

On Tuesday, the school board will discuss pay increases for employees like Perry and Clay.

Included in the proposed budget is a 4% cost-of-living adjustment for all support and certificated staff.

“It is not going to put me or my coworkers in a position to live in Davidson County,” Clay said.

Perry said a more meaningful adjustment would be 10%. That would give her an extra $180 a month to spend.

“At least I get a little extra that I could take a breath and pay my bills,” Perry said.

She said she is tired of feeling looked over.

“Respect me as the person that I am and being your support and being here fighting for our kids,” Perry said. “Respect it.”

News4 reached out to Metro Schools, but no one was available to interview about the budget. News4 also reached out to the Mayor’s Office who worked with the district on the pay plan, but did not receive a response.

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