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Teacher Pay Could Benefit From Van Buren Wheel Tax

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

The Van Buren School System is in need of pay increases to stay competitive in recruiting teachers.

Director of Schools Cheryl Cole said Van Buren is struggling to keep teachers from moving to larger school systems in Tennessee.

“The county has not provided the teachers with a raise or the support staff with a raise for several years,” Cole said. “As long as I have been here as director, so that has been six years. I want to use that money to help give teachers and support staff a raise.”

This November, voters will decide if the school system gets the funding it needs by voting for a $40 wheel tax. If passed, the school system will receive half of the total funds.

“In the past our directors have done a great job with our budget, and we have been able to sustain things and build on that, and I just want to keep that going,” Cole said. “I want to keep our teachers here and not replace them every year.”

Cole said other needs to explore in the future include more social workers and a nurse for each building.

The commission approved adding the wheel tax to the ballot earlier this August. When Commissioners passed a $10 Wheel Tax in 2018, it was later struck down by voters in a special election in February 2019.

The other half of the wheel tax would go the the county’s general fund to help the financial stability of the future.

“The school system is going to need some increases,” Budget Committee Chairman William Maxwell said in a budget meeting earlier this month. “Our maintenance of effort with the school system has been the same for many years. I’m unclear on how long that’s been since there was an increase, but it’s been a good bit.”


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