Money switch causes concern with Memphis teachers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Money switch causes concern with Memphis teachers

(WMC-TV) – A money switch causes Memphis teachers to have more concerns about the Memphis and Shelby County School merger.

Memphis teachers were expecting a raise next school year, but a new plan will take their extra cash and spread it around the newly merged district.

Keith Williams, President of Memphis Education Association, says, "We are not going to go away quietly on that one."

Williams is on the frontline of a new salary battle. He says, "Cost of living raises that come from the state were allocated based on teachers in the district. They're using our cost of living raise to ignore legacy MCS teachers and give it all to legacy Shelby County teachers."

State law requires all district teachers get the same pay scale. County teachers made less before the merger, so their salaries will need to be increased.

"It will go to level up the salaries of Shelby County teachers and level up the salaries of principals. 7,000 MCS teachers will get zero," Williams explained.

He also says Memphis teachers aren't the only ones getting the short end of the stick, "Not assistant principals, not teacher assistants."

The cost of living adjustment was a 30 million dollar casualty of the 2013-2014 budget.

Shelby County Board of Education District Budget states:

The District has requested a waiver from the State of Tennessee to use the component of Basic Education Program funds allocated to the COLA instead for harmonization of salaries for teachers, assistant principals and principals.

Williams raised this question, "The cost of living adjustment raise that was given by the state of Tennessee was 1.5% for every teacher in the state. Why wouldn't we get it?"

The answer: budget restraints. Even with 75 million dollars in school cuts, the county mayor wants to add an extra six cents to the property tax rate for schools.

Williams tells Action News 5 that a lawsuit is not yet on the table. The issue will be discussed later this week during Shelby County Schools' Collaborative Conferencing Committee meeting.

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