Mayor John Cooper and his administration have announced they would fully commit to funding a three percent cost of living adjustment for MNPS teachers and support staff effective January 1, 2020. Mayor Cooper was joined at a press conference by MNPS Interim Director Dr. Adrienne Battle, MNPS Board Chair Anna Shepherd, and Nashville Metro Council District 29 representative and Education Committee Chair Delishia Porterfield for the teacher pay announcement.
“Nashville’s teachers are our most important resource when it comes to public education, and we’re keeping an important promise made to our hard-working educators,” said Mayor Cooper. “We still have work to do in understanding how to better attract and retain teachers in our school system. I look forward to the results of the expert compensation study currently underway that will help us identify long-term solutions for improving teacher compensation.”
The three percent COLA will be made permanent through future work with the Metro Council. In 2020, the $7.5 million of funding required for the adjustment will be sourced from excess MNPS fund balance, of which $2.5 million has come from MDHA. The adjustment requires Council approval and will go before the Board of Education in this month.
Though appreciated, many teachers are saying that the increase isn’t enough.
“As a teacher, I am not going to jump up and down of joy for pennies,” said one educator. “This is my 12th year teaching in this district. This is not nearly even close to what we should have. Yes, I welcome any increase but we need to be caught up for the last 10 years!”
An expert teacher compensation study will be concluded in February of 2020. It will give the Mayor’s Office, the MNPS school board, the Metro Council, and the public insight into the causes of MNPS teacher attraction and retention challenges. It will also present policymakers, the public, and educators with a set of options to incorporate a compensation strategy that provides both short-term and long-term solutions.