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1093 Metro Teachers Took the Day off Friday; many called out to protest mayor's budget plan

Posted at 8:14 AM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 19:05:09-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — More than 1,000 teachers across the district were absent Friday, including 125 of the 141 teachers at McGavock High School.

Metro Schools confirmed Thursday that the district was prepared for hundreds of teachers across the district to take the day off -- many of them in protest of Mayor David Briley’s proposed budget.

The school board requested an additional $76 million next year in order to give teachers and support staff a 10% pay raise. But the Mayor's budget only gives the district an extra $28 million - far less than what school leaders say they needs to fully fund schools.

MNPS confirmed there were 1093 teacher absences today -- a 21% increase over this date last year. It's unclear how many of those were tied to the so-called "sick out."

“We are monitoring this closely and developing plans to assist schools that may need additional supports as a result,” said MNPS Interim Director Adrienne Battle. “We have substitutes and Central office teams working with schools to manage classes where teachers are out.”

MNPS says the top five reasons for the absences were:

  • Personal Illness – 536
  • Personal Leave – 175
  • Family Illness – 93
  • Professional Leave – 72
  • Bereavement Leave – 27

McGavock High School was the hardest hit today as 125 of the school's 141 teachers were gone.

NewsChannel 5 spoke with one teacher who said he decided at the last minute to show up, knowing several of his peers wouldn’t be there. Signs were placed on doors to direct students where to go.

The district told parents they are trying to get people from the central office to substitute; however, some parents felt this was a waste of a school day, while also voicing their support for teachers.

“… As a parent I'm really concerned about it. I understand what the teachers are trying to do, but I don't think they're going about it exactly the right way. But I do support them. But, just hurting the students to take some time off, I don't know that I necessarily agree with that,” said T.J. Tennent, a parent of a McGavock sophomore.

We spoke to several students who said they support the teachers. They say it's unfair so many of them are living paycheck to paycheck or working multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Mayor Briley released a statement late today thanking the teachers and support staff who went to work today.

Briley goes on to say

"he also understands the concerns of teachers about the raise and wants them to know that he is committed to finding additional resources to continue increasing teacher pay through a multi-year approach. Because of work done this past year to get the budget under control, MNPS will have a $34.9 million increase in operating and debt service funds – up from $5 million last year. The Mayor is strongly urging the School Board – which decides how this money is used – to use these funds to provide teacher and staff raises. The Mayor said he would make progress on this issue in his first year and he has. He is confident we can continue to make progress moving forward."