Nashville leaders are calling on state lawmakers to increase education funding.
A resolution adopted by the Metro school board Tuesday night says the district needs more money to retain teachers.
Education officials say Nashville’s public schools have been chronically underfunded for years.
Cassie Norton, an eight-grade science and history teacher at J.T. Moore Middle School, says the lack of classroom support can lead to burnout.
“I want to tell my students ‘you should be a teacher,'” Norton told board members during a public comment. “But how can I do that when I feel like I can’t keep doing it?”
Norton also says the lack of school supplies makes it hard to carry out lesson plans.
“Markers, the things physically in my classroom that make it a welcoming space. There’s no technology really in my room,” says Norton. “I don’t have consistent access to laptops or computers, unless I can borrow them from somebody else for a day.”
District 9 school board member Amy Frogge, who proposed the resolution, says the state has over $5 billion in reserves that could be used for education funding.
Last week, board members expressed their support for a Metro lawsuit challenging the state’s new school voucher law — which they say will take money from the district.
“It’s critically important that we get that money to our schools,” says Frogge. “As a school board member but also as a parent, the needs in our schools are great and we’re losing teachers.”
State leaders acknowledge pay is becoming a barrier to attracting and retaining top teachers. Governor Bill Lee spent much of his annual State of the State address last week outlining plans to improve compensation and training.
Lee announced what he described as the largest investment in teacher pay in state history. If approved by the legislature, an additional $117 million would go toward teacher salaries, amounting to a 4% raise across the board.