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School budget allows for potential 3% raise
Grant Swallows
Grant Swallows

Director of Schools Dr. Grant Swallows says they are budgeting for a 3% raise across the board for Warren County School System employees.

Swallows discussed the General Purpose Schools Budget for next year at the county Budget and Finance Committee meeting Tuesday night and said they are proposing a budget that would include a 3% raise for school system employees.

“We did want to make sure our employees get a raise,” said Swallows. “This budget reflects a 3% raise across the board on all salary schedules and the 6.1% estimated increase in medical insurance we are covering that in our budget to make sure we stay competitive with that insurance.”

“With the pay raise and the insurance going up, is the pay raise just covering the insurance or are you covering it?” asked Commissioner Christy  Ross.

“We are proposing to cover that increase in insurance and actually the board voted in December to pay a little bit more toward that to be more competitive with insurance rates. Again this is a lot of trying to take care of our employees, but we are also coming across lots of people that are paying better and lots of folks that are around us doing these things and we have to be forward thinking,” said Swallows. 

Ross asked Swallows if he thought the 3% increase and help with insurance would help him retain and hire more people.

“I think so. We need to be more competitive. There are people who are around us that are paying more, but listen we could talk about that every year for the next hundred years. There are some places that are just going to have a bigger tax base and have more people, but at the same time we are going to continue to study and get more competitive,” said Swallows.

Said Commis-sioner Scott Rubley, “We face challenges with other counties recruiting teachers, but can you imagine Cannon County that pays less than we do and Rutherford County is their next-door neighbor? Their challenges far exceed ours.” 

Swallows says they are also looking into raising substitute teacher pay. Non-certified substitutes currently make $60 per day and certified substitutes get $75 per day. 

Swallows said they are on the lower end in the Upper Cumberland when it comes to paying substitutes and he would like to change that. 

They are currently deciding whether they will remain in contract with the vendor that provides substitutes, or pay in house.