Members of the Hamilton county commission were not happy this morning.
That comes as they questioned school leaders about their failure to include a teacher pay raise in the revised budget they submitted for 2020.
“I’m just kind of, I’m not real happy with the result. Because it was, you heard up here, I mean, our focus, and we don’t have line item veto, is about the teachers. And you’ve got 12 million going back in the fund balance, I just don’t get why we can’t take care of the teachers a little better,” said Commissioner Chip Baker.
Former school board member, commissioner Chip Baker led the questioning of school leaders about their change of course.
Commissioners believed teachers would get a 2 and a half percent raise instead of the 1500-dollar one time bonus for all full-time employees this year.
“There was another proposal put out there that – to look at some other options, and one of those options was to not do a two and a half percent raise, instead do a one time bonus out of fund balance. That is something this was um, talked about throughout the collaborative conferencing process and an option (that) was on the table,” said School Finance Director Brent Goldberg.
Baker and others were not happy with the change, but the commission does not have authority to change any part the school district’s budget.
Commissioner Tim Boyd asked, “How many more new employees with new positions is that going to be?”
Goldberg replied, “The proposed budget included in the county budget has one hundred and eighty-eight and a half new positions.”
The President of the Hamilton County Education Association, said most of the teachers she heard from valued that, more than the raises.
“With this last vote, overwhelmingly I heard from teachers calling me, saying, ‘I want to give up my raise to have the supports’,” said Jeanette Omarkhail, President of the Hamilton County Education Association.
Omarkhail says the teachers group plans to ask for a substantial raise next year. They, and all full time employees will get the 1500-dollars each on November 22nd.
The commission will vote next Wednesday on the budget, which includes 418-million for schools.
There’s no tax increase, but 8-million dollars will come from the Hamilton County Department of Education Rainy Day Fund.