The Overton County School Board discussed the possibility of increasing teacher pay rates during its Thursday work session.
Vice Chairman Mike Gilpatrick said the school system is falling behind and needs to stay competitive with surrounding counties.
“We are in the five lowest in Tennessee,” Gilpatrick said. ‘We can’t retain good teachers if we are in the five lowest systems in the state.”
School Board Member William Abston said school officials have already started gathering data to see what would be feasible. Abston said more information should be made available to the board in the coming months.
Later in the work session, pay rates for substitute teachers, cafeteria workers and bus drivers were also identified as needs. Gilpatrick said substitute teachers have asked for background checks to be paid by the system, which started the conversation for raises.
“I have had some calls from substitute teachers asking we pay for their background check,” Gilpatrick said. “We pay lower there than other systems also. So, I said I would bring it up.”
Board Member Ricky Dodson responded and said, “We should have an increase all across the board. Your business is only as good as you taking care of your employees.”
Abston said if background checks are to be paid by the district, substitutes should only be reimbursed by working a certain amount of days. Abston said if substitute teachers get a rate increase, then substitute cafeteria staff should, as well.
“Going forward on that, we should at least pay the subs what we would pay somebody that has zero amount of experience coming in,” Abston said. “That sounds fair to me. We should at least be paying the subs $10 an hour.”
The system still continues to struggle finding substitute cafeteria staff as no new hires have been made since opening applications, according to Food Services Director Debie Taylor.
Finding bus drivers has also been an issue. Dodson said the positions should also be included in pay scale discussions. According to Holman, the items will be on a future meeting agenda.