Metro teachers, employees raises to total 6% by Jan. 2020

Posted at 11:37 AM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 06:52:45-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Mayor David Briley has announced an additional 3% cost-of-living adjustment for Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers and employees on top of an immediate 3% pay increase.

The additional raise will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, bringing the total increase to 6%.

According to a release from the Mayor’s office, this is .5% higher than the cost-of-living adjustment increase in the proposed substitute budgets that would have raised property taxes.

“I have been working on the MNPS budget with Dr. Battle and Dr. Gentry, trying to find the best possible way to get recurring dollars to teachers while not penalizing the 40% of MNPS teachers who are “topped out” and while avoiding a property tax increase this year – something that would have hurt in-county teachers more than the proposed raises would have helped,” Mayor Briley said.

Briley said they were able to free up $7.5 million, thanks to MDHA’s help and the work done by the Council’s Tax Increment Financing Study and Formulating Committee.

“The move does not require Council action since it will simply result in a reduced expenditure for MNPS,” according to a release from the mayor’s office.

The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement on the COLA raises, saying in part:

While this is likely welcome news to MNPS employees, it is an absolute insult to every other employee in the Metro Government who desperately needs and deserves an appropriate cost of living adjustment but will not see the additional increase in January. There is absolutely nothing fair and equitable about today's announcement. Rather, this promotes the same environment that has led Nashville's employees, and its taxpayers, to mistrust the day-to-day operations of this city's administrators.

The MNEA released the following statement:

Today, the Metropolitan Nashville Board of Education received a sudden offer of $7.5 million in additional funding from Mayor Briley in the form of an adjustment to $11.2 million previously slated to be diverted from Metro Schools to fund tax increment finance (TIF) debt. While teachers and schools welcome additional funding for our cash-strapped public schools, the method by which this “plan” was developed smells of political intrigue, vote buying, and extortion. Briley’s letter to the board of education intentionally leaves ambiguous the question of whether the $7.5 decrease in TIF funding will extend beyond 2019-2020. Unfortunately, the Briley plan comes with a demand that the board not fund teachers’ step raises but use his approach to adjust salaries. If Mayor Briley truly wanted to help schools, he should have supported the Vercher amendment rather than threaten a veto designed to hamstring the Metro Council. His games unnecessarily exposed certain brave, schoolsupporting council members to unnecessary risk of criticism by voters on the right and forced other council members to betray organized labor and our schools. At the end of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, MNPS was compelled to transfer $3.5 million dollars to MDHA to meet increased TIF obligations to MDHA based on tax collections in excess of budgeted projections. In the 2018-2019 budget TIF transfers were budgeted to increase, but MNPS was not required to pay the complete amount. Today, Mayor Briley admitted TIF loan obligations have been overstated, and there is no need to extract additional tax revenue from our schools in 2019-2020. Nashville’s chronically-underfunded schools deserve deliberate, honest funding streams that do not rely on selling assets or require refinancing schemes that ultimate cost more money to our tax payers. No one should mistake Briley’s newest shell game as a magnanimous gesture to support teachers or schools. See it as vote grab!
Erick E. Huth, Ed. D. MNEA President