Hamilton County Teachers Ask School Board For Raise

Reported by: Caitlyn Jones

Edited by: Caitlyn Jones
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Updated: 8/15/2013 11:42 pm
        Green was the color of choice at the Hamilton County School Board meeting representing the money they want more of.
        Sandy Hughes spoke to the board on behalf of the teachers.
        They have expressed a need for a three to five percent salary increase this year.
        That's generous amount compared to the past five years that have only given them one percent raises each year.
        "Morale is very low because they feel like they're working harder to do a better job...and it's been a long time since 2008," said Hughes.
        Since 2008, he cost of living for teachers HAS increased.
        "Consumer price index has increased, rent has increased, FIFA increased, our individual insurance increased, our deductibles increased," Hughes said.        
        It's an especially touchy subject for teachers after Superintendent Rick Smith was given a $25,000 raise in June.
        Board member Rhonda Thurman voted against his raise, and says the teacher raise isn't her top priority.
        "If we had the money I don't have a problem with it. But right now we just don't.
        I will not be voting for it until I get something done at Sale Creek.  We have 545 students at Sale Creek Middle High and have two bathrooms. The kids don't have anywhere to go the bathroom," Thurman said.
        Dr. Jonathan Welch says finding money in the budget for the raises won't be easy.
        "Budgetary constraint and recurring costs...you want to make sure you can continue to provide it next year without being backed into the corner where you have to cut other necessary things that have to go into the class room," said Welch.
        Though a vote has not been cast yet, teachers sent a clear message they hope will resonate when it is time for a decision.
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