When my family moved to Sumner County the first thing we looked at was the quality of schools in the area. If we want to continue encouraging families to come here, we need strong schools, and for that we must continue to attract and retain the best teachers. We are a prosperous county, and we can afford to adequately provide for our schools' faculty and staff.
I believe we need to continue to focus on increasing funding to public education in Sumner County. We must also strive to do so in a fiscally responsible manner, so I will not take options off the table when determining how to fund these improvements. We must be constantly vigilant against waste and misallocation of funds, but there are also instances when the only option is to bring in additional revenue.
I do not believe Sumner County School teachers are adequately compensated. It is shameful that we are in the top 5% of wealthiest counties in Tennessee, yet our teachers' compensation is in the bottom 38% of Tennessee school systems. We should not continue asking teachers to do more for less and expect them to do so simply because they truly love teaching.
School Staff Pay
Another area we must focus on improvements is school staff compensation. Recent increases in pay for substitute teachers is a good first step, but we need to do more. The minimum livable wage in our area is $14.28 per hour for a home with two working adults and two children. If Sumner County is truly focused on families, we must provide ample income to encourage them to come here. These jobs are not summer or after school jobs, and they should not be treated as such.
Securing Our Schools
Sumner County has already taken many of the necessary steps to increase the security of our schools, starting with more secured entrances, cameras, and modern check-in methods. To further improve security we need to add School Resource Officers (SRO's) to our schools, especially in rural areas where it will take longer for law enforcement officers to respond to an incident. I will strongly heed the advice of our Sheriff and other law enforcement agencies as to other suggestions for better providing a safe learning environment for our children. I do not support arming teachers, administrators, and school staff.