Shelby County teachers threaten to stage a sickout

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Shelby County teachers threatened to stage a sickout if they don't get more money.

Teachers said it's been three years since they've had a raise, and they're frustrated.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said he heard about the threats, and he's hoping teachers don't go through with it.

Teachers told WREG they are fed up and determined. Tuesday night, they laid into the school board. Their main concern: not getting paid what they were promised.

"You need to take a good look at everyone. Not just people making over a $100,000 sitting in a board. We are important too," said a Lucy Elementary teacher.

Memphis-Shelby County Education Association President Keith Williams said teachers should be on a schedule.

Those with the minimum education start off with a $42,000 salary and after 18 years, they top off at $59,000.

Williams said the district gave a bonus last year to make up for not giving any raises for the past three years.

"The little bonuses don't equate to very much. It is certainly not a step increase," said Williams.

"I am not even paid for every year of experience that I have," said a teacher, who has been with the district for 12 years.

She said this year, she's bringing home $600 less each month, because of increased health care costs and no salary increases.

Several teachers told WREG if nothing changes, they will organize a sick out and call it the "Red Apple Virus."

Hopson said he sat down with union leaders, reminding them strikes are illegal.

"I believe in my heart that these teachers know that's not best for kids. That creates a situation that's not stable. A bunch of subs coming in," said Hopson.

He said this year's budget is finalized, so raises won't happen. He wanted to remind teachers that no administrator got a raise either. He also said he understands their concerns and wants the best for them.

Teachers said they aren't giving up their fight, and they also want changes made to the tenure and teacher evaluation system known as TVAAS.


  • Steph

    Can’t say I don’t blame them. Most people get a raise every year. Some every six month.And it’s been 3 years. Can’t believe they held out this long.

    • King Willie

      You’re insane. Since 2009 most people have seen their income fall if they are lucky enough to have a job. And they don’t have a job with retirement

    • babalu

      I agree with King Willie on this. I haven’t had a raise in I don’t know how long and my insurance has tripled since what’s his face was elected.

  • ron

    My friend is a mechanical engineer and has not seen a cent raise in 4 years.

    I bet those sub districts are glad they got away from the SCS for just this sort of reason.

    • Audrey Grossman

      first, no one “ran off a tax base” Every taxpayer in Shelby County has a big chunk of their property taxes paying for SCS – whether they live in Memphis, Germantown, or elsewhere. second, give up on the tired old race card. Race has NOTHING to do with the formation of municipal school districts. It was crystal clear that we were going to have ZERO say in how the merged district was run and we simply wanted out of that train wreck so we could have some say in our childrens’ education. Seeing how things are turning out even only a month into the new school year, I can confidently say that I am thrilled to be in GMSD and out of SCS.

      • langor1

        Audrey Grossman, you are wrong. The white tax base has largely been driven from Memphis to the municipalities and the outlying counties by bigots and fools. The comment you are railing against clearly has nothing to do with the creation of municipal schools and nothing to do with white racism.

      • Audrey Grossman

        LANGOR1 – I see your point. and yes, many people have been driven out of Memphis due to horrible city leadership. I guess I’ve just gotten a little defensive with so many people calling us in the burbs racist at every turn. :(

  • whoyoukiddin

    Yes, teachers should be paid, but with that being said I haven’t seen a raise in over 4 years and they need to think about the firemen and policemen who haven’t had a raise in I believe 5 or 6 years. Welcome to Memphis. As long as you keep electing the people you are electing don’t be looking for raises. This also goes with the school board you keep electing. Remember it is you who keep electing these people that have all the say in your pay!

    • Hardbutfair

      That’s it in a nutshell. Memphis is broken down because of very poor leaders. When we get better leaders we will see better results.

    • donaknowsitall

      Did anyone happen to read the article in the Fortune Magazine (or Fortune Online) about the most corrupt states in America. Well guess what, Tenneessee is Number 3 with Mississippi being number 1? I wasn’t one bit surprised when I read it.

    • K.S

      I was wondering the same thing. I did not get a bonus last year. We were supposed to get a bonus this year based on our TEM Summatives from last year in September. Now, they are saying the first check in October. If they have their way, we will never get it. It’s plain sad!

  • scs_sucks

    6yrs. not a one cent raise, even though it was in our union contract. we were promised to an annual raise regardless. (even in the interview process Never happened. Still hasn’t happened. I’m with SCS Nutrition Services. I have 4 employees, who don’t get insurance, but make almost as much as I do. With the nutrition center making a killing this year with free breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you would think maybe, just maybe they would share the wealth. NOT A CHANCE!!! For every student who gets a breakfast, lunch or supper meal the nutrition dept. gets about a dollar per student per meal. Add all that up and they make a killing. Total BS. I say strike! Hell I’ll stand beside you!

  • MovingForward

    I understand the insurance decreasing their pay, and that is horrible especially since Mr. Hopson got a raise and a contract extension this year with no background in education. No administrator got a raise, but he did! I know the teacher’s work hard, but there are hundreds of teacher’s that lost their job over the last couple of years, and I’m sure they would be glad to just be able to work. A strike won’t fix their pay. If the teacher’s don’t work, than the students don’t get educated, and Shelby County will end up worse than it already is. Those uneducated children will vote for the exact same people who are in office now because they won’t be able to understand government corruption. It’s a good thing I live in the suburbs. Good Luck SCS!

    • K.S

      People who live in the suburbs really need to quit acting as if they have escaped something. The last I checked, their test scores were not excellent! They were not making A’s and B’s on their state report cards and they were using the same low-level TCAP test that the MCS district was using. This was before the merger took place. The suburbs loves to make radical decisions about education when they think the kids from MCS are trying to come to their schools and neighborhoods. They did not have a standardized tests until they kept trying to keep kids from MCS from graduating from their schools once MCS adopted the Gateway. So, they adopted the TCAP and Gateway. Didn’t turn out so well for them. The veil was lifted and reality showed that they were having just as many problems educating their kids as the MCS district was as well. Now, they run off and form their own districts. Who do I see on the news but one of the municipalities because they have increased their water fees? Of course, they will never say that it is because they can’t afford these schools, so they claim it’s because water usage was down. Really! Give me a Break! As for the State taking over, let’s just look at their ASD schools. There has been no major increase in test scores since they act as if they know more about these kids than the people of Memphis and Shelby County know.. Wonder Why? They lowered the grading scale to make it seem as if the kids were doing so well. Guess what, you can’t lower the TCAP score requirements. The ASD schools made the least amount of growth out of everyone!

      • MovingForward

        What does this have to do with the teacher’s being on strike? There is no mention of TCAP or MCS v. suburbs schools testing scores. I’m going to guess that you didn’t get hired by any of the municipalities, and that is why you are trash talking them. They just started their first school year, so what does TCAP scores from last year have to do with their current districts. You can judge them once their scores return next year.

  • Lady Dee

    Increased Healthcare cost ! What ? I thought things would get better and you could keep your doctor and plan if you liked it … How’s that Hope & Change working out Memphis ?

  • Elwood Suggins

    Democrats have had mayoral and city council control for about 30 years now. How’s that working out for you.

  • Long Gone

    because of increased health care costs and no salary increases.
    The increase healthcare costs are due to Obamacare. Give credit where credit is due. They can pay through the plan or go to the Marketplace. People you need to check this out. Remember Oct 1 is the open enrollment.

    • Joe Bo

      Lone gone you are soo wrong. You must be a new worker. I have been in the job market since 1989 after 8 years in the Military. Been with Blue Cross,, United, and Cigna at different times. Since ’89, mrates have increased, if not every year, then ever two years. The reason is because the greedy insurance companies lobby our politicians, so they can charge what they want, and cover what they want too. Stop blaiming Obama care.

  • Paul Fischer

    I don’t have a tear to shed for these poor teachers since their union, and other public employee unions have consistently voted and campaigned for progressives in the democrat party. So will Memphis ever pay that $52 million dollars they never did to their old school district?

    • Joe Bo

      Paul look south at Mississippi. A republican state for more than half a century. However, Mississippi is also the POOREST state in the union, and has been for decades. They just keep voting republican, while the poor gets poorer, and the rich get richer.

      • K.S

        Right! It has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats. There are crooks and poor leaders in both parties!

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