Timing of School Superintendent's Raise Questioned

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Reported by: David Moore
Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 6/21/2013 7:13 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) - The Hamilton county school board praises the work of Superintendent Rick Smith, but three members don't think now is the best time to give him a raise.
Local teachers are also asking for a raise, and finding support.
But there is no plan on the table to come up with the money.

DR. GREG MARTIN, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER "I support Supt. Smith 100%..I just don't support the 25-thousand dollar pay increase."

By a vote of 8-to-3 the school board voted to give Superintendent Rick Smith a contract extension and the 25-thousand dollar a year raise. Greg Martin, Jeffrey Wilson and Rhonda Thurman voted against it.
They were among a group that praises the superintends work, but feel the timing could have been better.

SANDY HUGHES, PRES. HAM. CO. TEACHERS ASSOC. "It's really is a moral-buster. I mean, think about it..your boss is getting a great raise...but your boss is successful because you are successful."

Sandy Smith as Association President says local teachers earn 10-thousand dollars a year below the national average.

SANDY HUGHES, PRES. HAM. CO. TEACHERS ASSOC. "Our teachers have not had a substantial raise since early 2000. It costs 5.3% more to live here in Hamilton county than counties in other places of the state."

JEFFREY WILSON, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER "If we're going to do this for Mr. Smith..we're going to do the best that we can to make sure we get our employees a raise."

Board members generally supported the idea of a teacher pay raise. But they know any money for an increase must come from the county commission, and the commission would have to raise taxes to make it happen.

RHONDA THURMAN, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER "If we go to the county commission wanting more money..they are going to say, well, if you have money to give the teachers all this raise and give the superintendent this kind of a raise..you obviously don't need money from us..I just think its going to be a hard sell."

The Tennessee Board of Education, over objections by teachers unions, today changed the state-mandated minimum salary schedule for educators.
The move allows local districts to make decisions on teacher pay structure.

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