Ensure That Funding for Teacher Raises in TN Actually Go to Raising Teacher Salaries

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On January 30, 2017 Governor Bill Haslam announced a plan to allocate more than $100 million for a 4 percent raise for teachers in Tennessee.

Last year Governor Haslam announced a similar initiative in the State Budget to raise teacher pay and the General Assembly approved this initiative.  Many public school teachers throughout the State of Tennessee were excited to hear the news that their salary would be increased.  However that excitement turned to dismay and demoralization when many of these teachers learned that their school district chose NOT to use the funding for actually raising teacher pay.  Instead this money was used for other "approved" reasons, such as funding their already incentive-based, approved, teacher pay plans or placing the money in their BEP funds. Many teachers across the state DID NOT receive raises last year despite the State funding and some were instead forced to support property tax increases in their counties in order to receive a raise.  

Although teachers are considered professionals, they are not compensated commensurate with their counterparts in other states.  Tennessee ranks 38th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia regarding teacher pay.  Many teachers in Tennessee live paycheck-to-paycheck and sometimes work multiple part-time jobs just to make ends meet.  This raise, if applied directly to teachers, would help to bring Tennessee teachers closer to the professional salary they are worth.

The purpose of this petition is to insert language into Governor Haslam's proposal that would require this funding to be applied directly to and above current teacher salaries in each district instead of being applied to BEP funding or pay plans that are already in place.  Teachers in Tennessee deserve a pay raise from the State instead of being ignored in favor of funding other projects in their districts.  The original intent from the State should be upheld and not left to the discretion of county officials.  



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