The Hamilton County Education Association presented a new plan for increasing teacher pay in the 2020 fiscal year on Wednesday. This comes after the Hamilton County Commission rejected the Board of Education's initial budget proposal just a couple of weeks ago.

The budget that the board first presented to the commission was $34-million over revenue. But Superintendent Bryan Johnson says the new plan, drawn up by the collaborative conferencing team, is a balanced budget.

The HCEA’s main message as they present the new budget is that the status quo is unacceptable.

Superintendent Johnson says the new plan is not without compromise.

We had to sacrifice and will have to sacrifice quite a bit,” he said. “So we understand that's where we are and have to move forward."

The board's initial budget included a 5% teacher raise and was $34 million over revenue. Johnson says this new proposal is balanced, and the HCEA says it keeps the focus on raising teacher pay.

“Our teacher salary scale must be competitive to ensure that we can attract and retain the best teachers to become the fastest improving school district in the south,” HCEA president Jeanette Omarkhail said.

Under the new plan, teachers' pay scale is step-based and includes a one time $1500 bonus. Total teacher compensation would increase an average of 4.7% for fiscal year 2020. It also includes funding for student supports.

We're not going to choose between our students and ourselves,” Omarkhail said. “As I said last week, we're always going to want to sacrifice ourselves."

Collaborative conferencing team members say this is only the first step in a long-term plan.

“As we move forward, the collaborative conferencing team and HCEA will work with the administration and our school board towards securing a 10% teacher pay increase,” Steve Hinkle said.

The next step is presenting the proposal to the Board of Education Thursday evening. If they approve it, it will move on to the county commission.