More than 1,000 Nashville schools teachers to be absent with protest over wages expected Thursday

May 16, 2019 

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More than 1,000 Metro Nashville Public Schools teachers are projected to be absent on Thursday — the same day the school board is to present its budget to Metro Council and protests over pay are planned.

Some of the absences are likely tied to ongoing protests from teachers over a proposed $28.2 million increase in the district’s budget from Mayor David Briley, which leaves room for a 3% raise. It would bring the district’s operating budget to $915 million in the 2019-20 school year.

But teachers and school board members have demanded more from the city.

The board is asking for a $76.7 million budget increase that would fund 10% raises. Briley called the ask from the school board “aspirational” and said he wants to engage in a long-term discussion to improve district pay.

The absences mark the third time in recent weeks that teachers have called out sick in subsequent numbers to protest Briley’s budget.

On Thursday, 1,066 teachers called in as absent, according to Dawn Rutledge, a district spokeswoman. It’s unclear how many of those absences are tied to the protest.

The district employs over 5,270 teachers.

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Teachers and protesters also plan to bring attention to funding and pay shortages during a march that will start at 2:30 p.m. at the pedestrian bridge at Cumberland Park and end at Public Square Park.

Participants then plan to fill Metro Council chambers for the Budget and Finance Committee hearing where the budget will be presented at 4:30 p.m.

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