Nashville Public Schools To Follow City’s Lead On Recognizing Domestic Partnerships

Metro Nashville Public Schools employs more than 10,000 people, about half of whom would not be included in the city's proposed ordinance to extend employee benefits to committed partners. Credit: MNPS via Flickr

Metro Nashville Public Schools employs more than 10,000 people, about half of whom would not be included in the city’s proposed ordinance to extend employee benefits to committed partners. Credit: MNPS via Flickr

Shortly after Nashville Metro Council took a step toward extending employee benefits to same-sex couples, the city’s public school system decided to follow the city’s lead on recognizing domestic partnerships. If the council’s ordinance passes later this month, the school district will do the same for its 5,000 teachers.

Public school employees in Nashville are split into two categories: First, there’s support staff, including cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and some administrators. They get their benefits, such as health insurance, from the city.

Then there’s certificated staff — teachers, principals, instructional coaches — and their benefits come from the school district.

So Metro Council’s proposed ordinance, which would recognize domestic partnerships among its employees, wouldn’t include certificated teachers. However, spokesman Joe Bass says the school district has thought it over, “and they have already decided that whatever Metro government decides on domestic partnership benefits, Metro schools will follow suit for teachers.”

That means all 10,000 school district employees would be able to extend their job’s health insurance and pension plan to their committed partners, no matter if they’re gay or straight. School employees would first have to provide proof that they’re living together and sign a form saying they’re in a committed relationship.

Bass says the school district’s decision will make its benefit offerings more consistent and fair.

“Everybody gets the same treatment no matter who you are, but also no matter what kind of job you hold.”

Metro Council will take a final vote on the ordinance June 17. If the city rejects it, the school district won’t pursue a domestic partnership policy of its own, Bass says.

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