A group of unions and Metro Council members are saying that Nashville’s teachers, firefighters, cops and government employees aren’t receiving a fair wage.
They’ve authored a new report that explores the impact of stagnant pay, understaffing and low morale.
The group says emergency workers are stretched thin, school bus drivers are taking on extra routes and a number of teachers are working second jobs.
Amanda Kail, a middle school teacher and president of the Metro Nashville Education Association, says low pay is one of the biggest causes of Nashville’s ongoing teacher shortage.
Last week, the district said it had 164 teacher vacancies.
The report says Metro Schools employs around 5,768 teachers and has 86,000 students.
“The district and the city have gone many years without giving cost-of-living raises. Without giving [any] sort of annual increases based on years of experience,” says Kail. “The reality is that people are not choosing this profession. They’re not staying in this profession because it’s not really being treated as a profession.”
Metro teachers did receive a 3% pay raise last month, but Kail says they’re still not being paid enough.
She also says teachers don’t have paid maternity leave, and that new educators lack traditional state pension plans.
Her concern comes ahead of a critical decision moment for Nashville leaders. The district is holding community meetings. Then the board will send its budget request to the mayor next month.