Nashville teachers and supporters will be rallying at Public Square on Thursday as part of what they're calling a "Day of Action."
It comes as they fight for raises and the school system meets with Metro Council's budget and finance committee.
“There’s a momentum we didn’t have before," said Jayne Riand, a teacher.
Riand will be part of the group rallying for action. She said it's time for school employees to get the raise they deserve, but it goes beyond that.
“It’s not just about the raise. It’s about not being able to provide for our students because that’s why we’re here," Riand said.
Teachers want a 10% raise. Mayor David Briiley is proposing a 3% raise.
His office recently put out a statement that said:
He also understands the concerns of teachers about the raise and wants them to know that he is committed to finding additional resources to continue increasing teacher pay through a multi-year approach.
Because of work done this past year to get the budget under control, MNPS will have a $34.9 million increase in operating and debt service funds – up from $5 million last year.
The Mayor is strongly urging the School Board – which decides how this money is used – to use these funds to provide teacher and staff raises.
The Mayor said he would make progress on this issue in his first year and he has. He is confident we can continue to make progress moving forward.
“There’s not a week that goes by that I’m not covering someone else’s classes during my planning time," said teacher Megan Baker.
Baker said pay is a reason why the school system has hundreds of openings for teachers. A spokeswoman told News4 there are more than 500 vacancies right now.
“If we don’t have livable wages and we don’t have like teacher retention compensations, what makes me want to teach here over another city?," Baker said.
Both teachers will be with supporters from the community Thursday as they try and make a point to city leaders.
They'll march from the pedestrian bridge to Public Square at 2:30 p.m. and rally at Public Square from 3-4 p.m.
They said teachers calling out sick was just one of the first steps of their fight.
“We have to do a heart check as a city and we have to look at our own values," Baker said.
“It just feels like a rich city with stuff coming in. Figure it out," Riand said.
Briley submitted his budget two weeks ago.
The Council's Budget Committee is meeting with all departments. That's to see if the mayor's suggestions are good or need to be changed.
The chair of the budget committee will come up with a budget in response to the mayor's proposed budget.
Council members will vote on the chair's budget. If it doesn't pass, the mayor's budget will go into effect.
Metro Council will vote on the first reading of the budget next Tuesday.