Hamilton County School Board Passes Budget To Include Teacher Raises

Image Credit: Hamilton County Schools / YouTube

The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

The Hamilton County School Board voted on Thursday to give teachers a $2,800 raise as a part of their newly approved $674 million budget.

The budget passed with a 7-4 vote. School board members Larry Grohn (R-East Ridge), Faye Robinson (R-Ooltewah), and Rhonda Thurman (R-Hixson), along with Chairman Joe Smith (R-Hixson), voted against the budget.

The board passed the $2,800 raise for teachers instead of the other option of a 5% raise. The same members voted against that, as well as Joe Wingate (R-Chattanooga). The raise narrowly passed with a 6-5 vote.

The raise will increase the school system’s minimum teacher salary to $50,000. The budget also includes funding to increase pay for classified employees.

Superintendent Justin Robertson first asked for a $21 million increase back in May to allow the County to increase salaries.

Robertson noted that the county had improved salaries over the last 8 years, raising the starting salary from $38,500 to $50,000. However, he says that is not enough.

“We need to keep pushing it. We need to keep working towards it. Part of the strategy around this budget and going and asking for $20 plus million was to start a conversation, and it has started that conversation,” Robertson said.

According to Thurman, the concern is whether the county can come up with the money to fund the salary increases without making things more difficulty financially on residents.

“In some cases, the only way the commission can give us more money is to increase taxes on the very people that are facing the same things that the teachers are facing,” Thurman said. “They can’t afford to live either, but yet you’re wanting them to come across with more money to make it easier for teachers when really it’s our job.”

The school board’s budget must still be approved as part of the County Commissions budget approval process, which will take place at their June 26 meeting. If the Commission denies the budget request, the school board may request a special voting session.

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