Latest SCS budget seeks pay raises for teachers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Latest SCS budget seeks pay raises for teachers

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Shelby County Schools is proposing a new budget that would provide money for teacher pay raises.

Rumors have swirled that SCS planned to issue teacher pay cuts to help alleviate the district's deficit. The budget SCS is now proposing actually calls for $10 million in teacher pay raises.

Dorsey Hopson said the district tried to listen to what the board, teachers, and public said after his first budget proposal.

SCS said it is expecting to get an extra $5 million from the Tennessee Department of Education. The district also plans to cut nearly 200 positions at the central office--however, only 61 of those positions are currently filled. SCS said other cuts are possible, but nothing is finalized at this point.

Hopson said the following items were cut before, but are now back added to the budget:

  • CLUE positions
  • Extra instruction time at iZone schools
  • iZone reading teachers
  • Several facility and plant manager positions
  • $10.8 million for teacher raises.

"They do hard work,” SCS parent Porsha Spencer said. “So, I do think they need raises."

The potential for raises is a big relief for parents who were concerned that teacher pay cuts could affect the education their children were getting.

"If you cut certain people's money, they're going to be like, ‘Well, you're not giving me enough money, so therefore I don't care,’" Tara Fowler said.

Memphis Shelby County Education Association member Keith Williams is not ready to celebrate just yet, however.

"It is two percent?” he asked. “Is it three percent? Is it across the board? Who will get it? Who will not get it?"

Williams said in the past, teacher raises only applied to a small portion of teachers, while others have gone years without raises or cost of living adjustments.

"We are very hopeful,” Williams said. “But we were hopeful last year, and the previous year, and the previous year. We've not seen it."

The superintendent said the raises and other changes in this budget proposal are the result of a few changes in available funds:

  • Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s budget proposal included an extra $5.5 million for the district.
  • Estimates on funding from the state increased by $5 million.
  • The district will save $4.2 million from closing three schools: Carver, Northside, and Messick Adult High Schools.

However, the budget proposal still includes $45 million in cuts. These include:

  • 183 Central Office positions, including 61 that are already filled; these people would lose their jobs
  • Cuts to programs
  • Cuts to contracted services
  • Cuts to PD
  • Travel cuts

Finding a better way to cover a budget gap is tough for some.

"To be honest, I really don't know,” Fowler said. “I don't know."

Williams has some ideas, however.

"If I had my red pen, I would show them where to do some cutting,” Williams said.

The Board of Education will consider this latest budget proposal and make a final vote Monday. On May 25, the budget will go to County Commission, which will ultimately decide how much money SCS receives.

After County Commission makes its decision, SCS will then rework the budget according to the amount of money the district will actually receive.

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