NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Public Nashville Public Schools are back in session, but the district is still about a hundred teachers short.
Some teachers and education advocates believe the shortage is, in part, due to the low teacher pay.
“It will continue to be this way, until this city makes it a priority to really fund public education,” said Amanda Kail, President of Metro Nashville Education Association
This spring, teachers staged a series of sickouts and held protests, hoping for a 10 percent raise. In the end, Mayor Briley offered teachers a 4.5 percent raise for his school year.
Some teachers tell News 2 they’ve had to work second jobs to make ends meet.
Camilla Spadafino and her husband are both teachers with Metro Public Schools. The couple owns their business called, “Paint the Town by numbers.”
“We started doing this to have some extra money. We had the summers off and we didn’t have the means to take our children on trips, go on vacations, just even to do fun things around the city,” said Spadafino
The husband and wife spend their evenings compiling art kits for the business. During the work week, they do at least an hour of work each day. On weekends, the pair works up to eight-hour days when they have big orders to fill.
“Necessity is the mother of invention, and it was a necessity for us to have extra income for our family. Thus, this invention,” Spadafino added.
On Monday, the Metro Public Schools hiring site lists just over 200 open positions. The district told News 2 half of the jobs had either been filled or would be filled with teachers waiting for their license.
Of the shortage, Kail said, “I’m not suprised,” and “this shortage also impacts students in the classroom.”
She continued saying, “The teachers in the ten to twenty year range are finding themselves just stuck, and not making much more than beginning teachers.”
Kail said 4.5 percent raise teachers are receiving this year is a step in the right direction, but added, “we’re so far behind at this point that I don’t think it’s enough to really make teachers feel like they’ve been heard.”