Raises may not be coming to teachers in Tennessee

BRISTOL, Tenn. - A pay raise won't be coming this year for state employees and teachers in Tennessee according to Governor Bill Haslam due to an ongoing decline in revenue collections.

"We were certainly disappointed to hear the news Tuesday morning about the removal of funding from the budget for teacher pay increases. We certainly feel like our teachers were deserving of those increases," says Jennifer Padilla.

Jennifer Padilla is the director of human resources for Bristol, Tennessee Schools. She tells us teachers in Tennessee work hard and she believes they deserved the raise. "Every year the requirements teachers are required to meet increase and become more demanding for them," she said.

We learned Tennessee's 2014 budget is facing $150 million in cuts; the budget for 2015 is facing $160 million in cuts.

Governor Haslam says sales tax revenue fell $33 million short and business taxes fell $215 million short. "The cold winter possibility kept people from shopping as much as they may have in the past, and hopefully that can be made up," adds state senator Rusty Crowe.

Crowe tells us the pay increase was a large addition to the budget -- around $72 million -- but he is disappointed they may have to take them away. "Our teachers work really hard, and they are under the gun right now with all the new policies that the administration has put in place," he said.

Jennifer Padilla hopes teachers will see the raises sooner rather than later. "We understand that difficult decisions have to be made when the budget expectations aren't where they are supposed to be. We're hopeful we'll be able to see an increase in funding in upcoming years," she said.

Rusty Crowe tells us the cuts are not final, they are just recommendations from the governor. He tells us the lawmakers are back in Nashville to work through the budget and decide on changes.

A budget must be in place by July 1, 2014.

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