Chance of Hamilton County teacher pay raise iffy

Students work on a writing exercise during Dr. Katie Hawkins' sixth grade literature class at Brown Middle School on November 18, 2013. Dr. Hawkins' students wrote Bi-Lo letters after noticing spelling and grammar errors at the local grocery store.

Hamilton County's public school teachers didn't get a raise this year. Leaders, including the county teachers' union president, the county school superintendent and Tennessee's governor, agree teachers deserve a pay hike.

The average pay of teachers in Hamilton County -- the fourth most-populous county in Tennessee -- ranks as low as 31st in the state or as high as 10th, depending on how it's calculated and whether benefits are factored in.

WEIGHTED SALARY EXPLAINED

Because school teachers often have varying degrees of experience and may have additional degrees, the weighted average salary helps provide an apples-to-apples comparison of pay across districts, state officials say. If the state just used the average mean salary, the numbers would be inflated in districts that have a large number of teachers with additional years of experience and levels of education.