Nashville teachers will see another boost to their paychecks during the upcoming school year.
On Monday, Mayor David Briley announced a pay bump of 3% in January, on top of the raise teachers are getting this month.
The money for the raises, about $7.5 million, is essentially coming from the city's housing authority. The Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency has agreed not to collect on loan repayments it's owed by the school district.
Briley says his administration worked with MDHA over the weekend to free up funding for the second round of raises. The mayor says he waited until the details were ironed out before sharing the plan with the district, though some school officials were told of their efforts.
"Frankly, we didn't want to get people's hopes up until we were confident it was something that could work," he told WPLN.
Timing With The Board
The public announcement came right as school officials were meeting to try to wring more money out of the district budget for pay increases.
School board members voiced appreciation for the funding during the special meeting Monday morning, but some complained they were left in the dark, with some learning of the plan only minutes before.
"I will tell you that I'm not happy about the process," said board member Fran Bush. "It should have never been done like this."
Two of Briley's opponents in next month's mayoral election also criticized the move. State Rep. John Ray Clemmons described it as "a hollow attempt at political preservation." Metro Councilman John Cooper said the last-minute allocation reflects a "management problem."
Together, the two pay bumps will amount to a 4.5% salary increase for teachers over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, the mayor's office says. That's still far short of the 10% raise that teachers had sought when they staged a series of sickouts this fall, hoping to pressure the administration into giving them higher pay.
Bush described the city's failure to meet teachers' expectations as "immoral."
"Because we're not paying our school employees what they deserve to be paid," she said, "we're hemorrhaging teachers."
In fact, board members were told at the meeting, the district had more than 700 teacher vacancies after the school year, and it still has more than 300 teaching jobs to fill, which it hopes to accomplish before the start of the academic year in August.