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Posted: 4:39 p.m. Monday, June 4, 2012
By Tom Jones
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —
Teachers in one local county sounded off about a proposal that would keep them from getting pay increases.
Clayton County school teachers said with the cost of living going up, they need their salaries to go up as well. But the school district said it doesn't have the funds and has come up with a plan to at least keep teacher salaries the same. "So absolutely no teacher should experience a pay decrease at all?" Clayton County School Board Chair Pam Adamson asked. "That is correct," a school official said during a public hearing on proposed teacher salaries for the next budget year. Teachers said they still felt like they were getting the short end of the stick. "What happens with our healthcare and our taxes that continue to rise so it really turns out that we are being cut I feel," one teacher said during the hearing. Teachers say with larger class sizes, an increased cost of living, and having to pay for supplies it is hard to educate kids while worrying about making ends meet. "We really need a pay increase," teacher Mabelline Anthony told Channel 2's Tom Jones. The district is facing a $40 million budget shortfall over the next three yearsand said it can't afford to supplement state teacher pay as it has in the past. But the district said it came up with a plan so teachers won't see their pay reduced. "And you will have the same salary that you had last year," a district official told the teachers at the hearing. But the head of the local teacher's union said that's not good enough. "We fund wars, we fund prisons. We need to fund education," said Sid Chapman with the Clayton County Education Association. Board member Jessie Goree thinks the district could increase teacher pay by eliminating the contract the district has with the sheriff's office to provide student resource officers to schools. "I think right now that we probably are paying the sheriff's department too much money," Goree said.
She also said she doesn't know that for sure but notes she has asked for the numbers, but hasn't received them yet. The board is expected to vote on the budget and the teacher salary schedule June 25.
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