The new proposed school budget for Hamilton County has many school board members concerned.

Kelly Reynolds is a speech therapist for Hamilton County Schools.

She says if the proposal were to pass, she isn’t sure if she would stay in the Hamilton County school system.

School board members at Thursday’s meeting addressed their concerns over teacher pay.  "I want to make sure our teachers know that they matter in this and that this board collectively is unified,” board member Jenny Hill said.

Information on Bradley County and Hamilton County websites show teachers in Bradley County make about $3000 more a year than those in Hamilton County.

Board member Rhonda Thurman wonders what’s keeping teachers here.

"Next year, if the counties around us take the money the state gave them and give their teachers raises, then it's making our problem worse,” Thurman said.

Reynolds says if the county commission wants to really help the school system, they need to put teachers and students first.

"Really prioritize where the money should go. If you really believe that we need to have great teachers, then you need to compensate them and need to support them and give them the resources they need to do their jobs well,” Reynolds said.

The school board could vote on the new budget later this month.