ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Hamilton County school board members and superintendent listen to Hamilton County commissioners during a Hamilton County school board and Hamilton County Commission joint meeting Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, at Red Bank Middle School in Red Bank, Tennessee. The board passed a 1% salary increase for certified and classfied staff during Thursday's meeting on Feb. 18, 2021.

The Hamilton County school board has approved a 1% salary increase for certified and classified staff funded by local and state revenue.

The salary increase approved last week will be retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year. It covers certified employees like teachers and nurses as well as classified staff such as bus drivers and support staff, said Hamilton County Schools communications officer Cody Patterson. The increase is funded by about $3.3 million of local funding and $1.8 million of state funding, he said.

The state funding was approved during a January special session of the General Assembly, and the local funds come from an increase in tax revenue compared to what was budgeted for this school year.

"We're appreciative that they added monies to make it a full 1% and not a bonus," said Hamilton County Education Association president Jeanette Omarkhail. "Most places around the state are only able to do a one-time bonus, but with a 1% increase, that stays in our compensation package."

The discussion of teacher pay raises stretches back at least two years.

The state did not provide a salary increase last year, but the county passed a 2.5% salary increase, which was added retroactively, Omarkhail said. The raise was half of the proposed salary increase from June 2019, when a 5% salary increase for teachers was shot down because a proposal to fund it with a property tax increase was rejected.

Currently, teachers and district officials are in early discussions about teacher compensation for next year's budget, Omarkhail said.

"HCS has increased first-year teacher starting pay approximately 10% to over $40,000," Patterson said by email. "We essentially provided the 1% right now in response to the legislative special session that allocated HCS an additional $1.8M in non-recurring funds for compensation. We increased that amount with local funding to cover the expense to increase salaries by 1% for all employees. We will continue to look at salary increases as part of the fiscal year 2022 budget process as our goal is to have market competitive salaries for all staff."

Contact Anika Chaturvedi at achaturvedi@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT