The Williamson County Schools board of education met March 26 and discussed next year's budget among other agenda items.
2019-20 budget to include teacher raises
The WCS board voted unanimously to include a 3 percent pay raise for teachers in the proposed 2019-20 school year budget. Board members cited local competition and cost of living in Williamson County as reasons for the increase.
“We can’t compete with the other districts who are poaching our teachers, who will pay them more, and it will cost them less to live there,” WCS board member Eric Welch said during the meeting.
The current starting salary for a new teacher in WCS is $37,500, compared to approximately $40,000 in Wilson County for teachers new to the district, and $43,363 in Metro Nashville.
Clocking in at $386.4 million, the proposed 2019-20 general fund also covers new textbooks as well as building improvements and other capital projects, according to proposed budget documents.
According to board officials, there is a $15 million shortfall in the 2019-20 budget, though the gap is expected to narrow as additional revenue comes in throughout the rest of this school year.
The entire budget will have to pass the Williamson County Commission before taking effect next school year.
“We are spending that money directly into the classroom to pay our teachers, our librarians and all those other wonderful people out there who care and educate for our kids,” Welch said. “It is a very efficient budget.”
Vaccination policy renewed
The board also passed an updated immunization policy on second reading.
The new policy states that unvaccinated students may not enroll without:
1. A signed, written letter stating that such immunization and other preventative measures conflict with the parent’s or guardian’s religious tenets and practices, affirmed under the penalties of perjury;
2. A written statement from the student’s doctor excusing the student from immunization due to medical reasons;
3. Any student determined to be homeless, pursuant to federal law, may not be denied admission because of the student’s lack of immunization records due to being homeless.
New school named
During the meeting the board also approved the name of the new elementary school near Long Lane and Gosey Hill Road. Creekside Elementary School is expected to open in January 2020, according to a district spokesperson. The other name options were Creekview and Millview.
Charter school opposition dropped
A resolution opposing charter schools was removed from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting, without further explanation.