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'We have held the line.' Fayette County teachers, school board begin discussion on raises

Josh James

The Fayette County School Board is asking the superintendent to develop a plan that would guarantee at least a 3% raise for all current district employees next year. But the lack of a dedicated, mandatory raise on the state level is leading districts to make hard choices.

Rather than set an across-the-board minimum raise for teachers this year, the General Assembly chose to increase per-pupil funding and kick the decision on teacher raises down to districts. That's led to some passionate debates at the local level, including a recent Scott County Board of Education meeting where school leaders and teachers became emotional talking about the issue.

Fayette school leaders heard some of the same arguments Monday night. Speaker Sara Green said school employees have held the line during unprecedented challenges.

"We have held the line. We have done our jobs under crushing public attacks on us personally and collectively as a profession. Our kids are struggling mentally and we are seeing it in rising behavior issues throughout our schools. We have shown up and risen to the challenge of the past several years, and we ask that this district recognize that and work with rank-and-file employees that would value our efforts and hard work."
Sara Green, speaker at Fayette School Board meeting

Green was there to push for a 5% pay raise, arguing 3% is not enough to cover inflation and other increased costs.

But while the board asked for a plan allowing for a 3% pay bump, no final decisions have been made and the board only adopted a tentative budget on Monday. The final document won't be voted on until September.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.