Del Phillips


Director of Schools Del Phillips will ask members of the Sumner County Commission to fund a $4,000 pay increase for each of the school district’s 2,200 certified employees, he told School Board members on Tuesday.

His announcement came during a School Board study session in which Phillips first praised teachers and administrators for several school district achievements including a 94.7 percent graduation rate and five Stem School designations.

He also provided salary information showing how Sumner teachers’ pay compares to neighboring Williamson, Wilson, Robertson and Rutherford counties.

A first-year Sumner County teacher with a bachelor’s degree makes $36,100 a year while a teacher in Williamson County brings home $40,150. Wilson pays 40K while a first-year Robertson County teacher makes $39,156, and a Rutherford County teacher makes $41,144, according to data provided by Phillips.

Phillips’ proposal will raise the starting salary in Sumner County to $40,100.

The proposed pay increase won’t take effect until the 2020-21 school year.

Phillips estimates the increase will cost the county around $8.8 million.

Several board members agreed that teachers deserve the increase.

Gallatin School Board Member Patricia Brown was one of them, but also noted commission members recently approved a bond for a new school campus.

“I just fear that we’re asking for a lot at once,” she said.

Members of the Sumner County Commission could vote on setting the county’s tax rate as early as Aug. 19. 

Phillips said he’ll bring his proposal to the county’s budget committee on Aug. 12 and to the full County Commission on Aug. 19.

Immediately following Tuesday’s School Board meeting, Phillips posted his proposal on the Sumner County Schools Facebook page.

“Our teachers work hard every day to help our students learn and achieve at the highest levels,” he wrote. “Over the past 8 years, our teachers have proven time and again by their support of new initiatives that have driven higher student achievement, graduation rates and ACT scores, that they are among the best in Tennessee. Improving your pay is the right thing to do.

“Over the past 8 years, we have worked to substantially raise pay for all classified employees to be competitive with the current job market. They deserved those pay adjustments, and now, we must do the same thing for you. As we hire new teachers, we expect to hire the very best and brightest candidates. Competitive salaries are essential to both attract and retain the very best teachers for our children and our district.”

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