Wilson County voters to decide teacher raise tax increase

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WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The race to retain teachers spreads across the viewing area.

Demands for a raise led to a promise of two 3% raises for Metro teachers. Now a raise in Wilson County is in the hands of voters.

The vote follows a Wilson County Commission meeting on Monday. Commissioners passed a resolution for a half-cent sales tax which, if passed by voters, would increase the county rate from 9.25% to 9.75%.

Additional revenue would be set aside for education, with approximately $5 million going toward Wilson County Schools. School officials say if the measure passes, priority one would be for teacher raises.

“I think it’s great,” said Lexie Carden, Wilson County resident. “Teachers don’t get paid enough as it is.”

“I know Wilson county’s a [more expensive] place to live,” added William Roberts. “But some people are trying to save some money.”

“I think teachers have a very important job,” noted Stephanie Gonzalez. “I have a little one myself, and I think they deserve to get more.”

The struggle for Wilson and surrounding counties is recruiting and retention.

New hires fresh from college, most often make $40,000 with a bachelor’s degree in Wilson County, according to numbers provided by the district.

The problem is, nationwide, the number of education degrees is in a free-fall.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of bachelor degrees in education dropped from 105,000 bachelor degrees in 2007 to less than 86,000 two years ago.

Wilson County is hoping to attract talent, if voters pass the measure in the March Primary.

“They do so much for the kids,” said Lexie. “They’re all about the kids, and they don’t get paid enough.”

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