Metro Nashville Public Schools employee resigns during council meeting due to low salary

Posted at 9:01 AM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 23:13:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Expenses are becoming more than what a lot of Nashvillians can afford right now.

It's gotten so bad for some Metro Nashville Public School employees, they're resigning from the district.

At Tuesday’s council meeting the public heard a first-hand account from a now-former MNPS employee.

Xaviera Washington, administrator of records, school finance and payroll for AZ Kelley Elementary, resigned in front of the entire room after almost 20 years of service for the school district.

She has a bachelor's degree in business management and a real estate license. She said she only makes $19.64 an hour, it was something she felt ashamed and embarrassed to even say, she told the council.

"It's sad. It really is and I'm so embarassed even at this point to tell you that my wage is $19.64 cents," Washington said.

Washington said she can't financially afford to stay in her job. She’s seen over two dozen others resign as well because they can’t afford to stay with the school district.

"I shared with them that my daughter's father had just passed a couple of months ago. So not having a will, not having social security, not having child support or any help, now I am left soul parent to provide for her and keep a roof over our head," she said.

She said with her daughter's father passing away and being a single mom, she can't remain at the job.

It was a tough decision because she loves her career and the students.

"As the mother of my school, as the mother of my child and the mother of over 1,000 students — I have to cry every night to figure out what I'm going to do now after 20 years of what I love to do. I love my job. I love these kids. I love my community. I'm here, I'm not begging. I'm telling you this is what they deserve. If you don't take care of these people, the mothers of the schools are going to be gone,” Washington said.

Washington told the council members to stop focusing on building stadiums and new entertainment venues, and instead take care of the locals.

Mayor Cooper’s operating budget includes a 4% cost of living adjustment for staff and teachers at MNPS.

MNPS sent NewsChannel 5 this statement saying the district will continue to advocate for higher pay.

"Each MNPS employee is an important part of the team, and we understand the need for higher pay for our support employees, which is why we have worked with Mayor John Cooper to advocate for higher pay, including step increases and a 4% COLA for all employees, as well as targeted improvements to hard-to-staff positions in transportation, nutrition services, and paraprofessionals, along with paid family leave for staff needing to care for sick loved ones or newborn children. We will continue to advocate for continued pay improvements to ensure that we are able to retain and recruit great team members."