Teachers speak out about raise at School board meeting - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Teachers speak out about raise at School board meeting

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

It was a full house at the Hamilton County School Board meeting. Nearly 100 teachers gathered in support of one thing, a raise.

"It's about time we get some recognition for what we do," said Gil Highlander, Vice-President of Hamilton County Education Association and Teacher.

"We wanted to show that we had teachers all over the district that were anxious and worried about their raise," said Sandy Hughes, President of Hamilton County Education Association.

It's something Hughes says has been a long time coming.

"They feel like they're working harder to do a better job," said Hughes, "and as people are working harder to do a better job they just feel they're merited a raise occasionally."

However, being hard workers isn't the only reason many of these teachers are looking for bigger paychecks.

"Our teachers started paying more for their insurance a couple of years ago and not only was it an increase in the premium, it was an increase in the deductibles," said Hughes.

Their asking price? 4 percent. Something Gil Highlander says isn't much.

"Education is important, our education was important. The education of our students is probably one of the most important things this county is responsible for and we'd love to see our teachers compensated at least reasonably for their efforts," said Highlander.

Chairman Mike Evatt says it's something the board is looking into.

"We want to, it's just coming up with the money," said Evatt.

Evatt says they're looking for their best option.

"Pulling revenues together and costs associated to that, saving where we could come up with savings and see if we can't do something to help them," said Evatt.

A demand he hopes won't go left unanswered for long.

"I hope that I have something by the end of the year that I can share with them," Evatt said.

Superintendent Rick Smith was recently awarded a $25,000 pay increase.

Teachers we talked to feel it would only be fair if they were also awarded a raise.

Sandy Hughes tells us they will be holding another negotiation session next week, in hopes to keep moving the process forward.

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