Promised Pay Raise For TN Teachers Left Out Of Initial Budget Talks

Gov. Bill Haslam spent the end of last week visiting schools like this one in Memphis, congratulating teachers for helping make Tennessee the fastest improving state on a national standardized test. Credit: TN Photo Services

Gov. Bill Haslam spent the end of last week visiting schools like this one in Memphis, congratulating teachers for helping make Tennessee the fastest improving state on a national standardized test. Credit: TN Photo Services

Tennessee’s public school teachers have been promised better raises over the next few years. But top officials are holding off on saying just how much that will be.

Governor Bill Haslam’s annual budget hearings began with education but left open the biggest question of the year. The governor has guaranteed to improve teacher pay faster than any other state. Tennessee is surrounded by states like Georgia and Kentucky that have substantially higher teacher salaries.

But at the moment, state revenues are coming in much lower than expected. So Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says he will propose a number for the raise in January. And he warns teachers not to expect a huge hike all at once.

“I do think this is a long-term process, but starting every year with the governor saying this is a priority in his budget is a pretty good thing.”

Huffman is also asking for more money related to teacher observations. Funds used for training principals on how to grade their teachers were coming from the federal Race to the Top program, which is finally running out.

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