Shelby County teachers threaten to stage a sickout

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.

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