Budget shortfall leaves Nashville teachers without raises

Metro teachers won't be getting a raise next year because of a budget shortfall. (WSMV)

Metro teachers won't be getting raises like they hoped after Nashville Mayor David Briley didn't give schools the funding it needed.

Metro schools have to make up a $17 million gap, and administrators are considering several options to trim down the budget for next year.

“For the second year in a row, employee compensation must be a priority," said Dr. Shawn Joseph during the state of schools address in March. But those words won't come true this year after Metro Schools said there isn’t enough money.

Metro Government only gave the school district $5 million to work with for next year’s budget.

"It's time for the Metro Council and the mayor to actually fund our schools at a level that is commensurate with peer district across the country because we're falling further and further behind,” said Erick Huth, the president of the Metro Nashville Education Association, the city’s teachers union.

Huth said schools are already underfunded.

"We don't have paper for teachers and funding for toner for teachers to make up the difference by making photocopies,” said Huth.

On Tuesday night, board members weighed any land sales like the Murrell School.

"The property was appraised for $7 million. We're going to be getting $5 million from the city, but they're looking to sell the property for $13 million,” said board member Christiane Buggs, who represents District 5. “So, I'm sure over the next few weeks, we'll learn more about that."

While raises are a long shot, funding for individual schools is not.

"We're not taking any money from children. Those budgets that principals have developed over the last few months have been accepted and returned back to them and they're keeping their money,” said Buggs.

Metro Schools said it will have to make cuts to the central office to avoid layoffs of teachers and other employees. That includes hiring freezes and leaving positions open.

The school board votes on a newer, slimmer budget on May 22.

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