Metro teachers feel $42M budget shortfall

Nashville 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Amanda Baker, a Nashville area elementary school teacher for 10 years, sat down with News 2’s Alex Denis to talk candidly about the struggles she faces in the classroom every day.

“They’re our future. And if I can’t give them what they need, it’s hard,” Bakers said through tears.

“Have you ever thought about leaving?” Denis asked.

“Yes,” Baker quietly responds.

A heartbreaking reality for passionate teachers like Baker.

Underfunding strains her ability to give students the resources they deserve.

“We would love to have books in all the student’s hands. We don’t have that. Some teachers don’t have paper. Don’t have basic things like glue and crayons,” said Baker.

She also admits it’s not uncommon for teachers to spend $1000 of their own money each school year for classroom supplies.

“I’ve seen excellent teachers be exhausted teachers from having to work 2 or 3 jobs to try to keep up with things.”

Selfless acts by people who feel undervalued, underpaid, and uninhibited.

In May 2019, local teachers rallied together for Red for Ed, a national movement demanding lawmakers invest more in schools.

Their chant, “3% won’t pay rent!”, a response to the 3% cost-of-living raise earmarked by the former administration.

The second installment of the 6% total raise went into effect at the first of the year.

Yet overall, monetary support for education still sits at a deficit.

In November, Tennessee comptroller Justin Wilson announced to Metro Council Members, school expenditures have increased 28% since 2013, yet cash has decreased by 96%.

An equation that doesn’t add up for Baker, especially during a time when the city has a healthy revenue stream.

“I know we have so much money coming in from tourism. So, why are schools not funded. Why?” Bakers asks.

A question that has many wondering, is a discussion about raising taxes on the horizon?

Mayor John Cooper hasn’t indicated it would come to that, but has initiated an expert teacher compensation study.

Epected to concluded in February, it should provide insight into teacher attraction and retention challenges. And, provide both short and long-term solutions.

in the interim, Baker begs people to get involved, vote, and speak up for students.

“Don’t shortchange them. because they are our future.”

For eligible employees, the increase will appear on the check for the pay period Jan. 3 – Jan. 16, which comes out tomorrow, Jan. 24.

News 2 is reporting on Nashville’s historic growth and the growing pains that come with it. Click here for more Nashville 2020 reports.

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