CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
“You've heard me say it before, but it bears repeating—There is nothing more important to our state than getting education right,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said.
Education dominated most of Governor Haslam's State of the State Address Monday night.
“I'm pleased to announce that the budget includes $100 million for increasing teacher salaries,” he said.
That amounts to a 4-percent pool that local education associations will have to work with when deciding how to raise teacher pay.
“I think it would be greatly appreciated by our teachers and much deserved. I just hope he can come through this time,” Hamilton County Education Association President Sandy Hughes said.
Huges is a little weary after the Governor proposed a 2-percent increase last year, but says it never happened because the funding never came through. But Huges says anything would be helpful.
“[Teachers] have had some recent benefit reductions that have put many of them in extreme financial strain, so it would be very helpful,” she added.
The Governor is also proposing nearly $170 million in more K-12 education to give Tennessee kids a bright future.
“The reason we continue to make these investments in education is because we want Tennesseans to have the education, training and skills necessary to have a good, high quality paying job,” he said.
State Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris responded to Haslam's speech by saying, "Our state is making extraordinary gains in education, and I would be very troubled to see that progress stop over one party's partisan political objections. We need to continue to support the highest standards for our students and keep up the progress we've made."