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Overton School Board Concerned About Teacher Pay

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton School Board Concerned About Teacher Pay

School systems around Overton County considering up to $5,000 salary increases for teachers, causing concern for the Overton County Board of Education.

Budget Director Crystal Nelson said starting teacher pay for next year needs to increase by a minimum of $2,500, putting it at $44,500 a year. Board Member William Abston said pay in the district has consistently been lower than in others. Abston said staffing problems are going to arise in the district because teachers are expected to retire in large numbers over the next decade.

“As we’ve seen in the past, every single time we raise our pay scale, all of the counties around us raise their pay scales, so we’re still in the same predicament,” Abston said. “We could raise the support staff and the teachers to where we’re increasing it five million dollars a year, but the people around us are going to do the exact same thing.”

Board Member Mike Hayes said the district’s support staff are also being underpaid, with eight of them making less than $14 an hour. Hayes said it is going to be difficult to find people to work those jobs if pay stays so low.

“They’re going to be getting paid less than a substitute teacher if we don’t change that,” Hayes said.

Hayes said he does not have an issue with the pay scale for support workers, only the starting pay.

“I’d like to see those eight go to fourteen, then everybody else, if we want to do the fifty cents and look at that, I’m fine with,” Hayes said. “But I think we need to make a move on those first because we’re going to have issues where they’re going to give up those jobs and just go sub and make more money.”

Nelson said she would make a new budget estimate to see what the increase would look like.

“We kind of had a budget, but we had no idea kind of which way you all wanted to go,” Nelson said. “So we can put in, like, an estimate that you all want to, us to put in, and then we can send it out tomorrow or the next day.”


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