The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many to be out of work and without financial means to take care of their families. People are still contacting me asking for assistance on how they can go about collecting unemployment benefits provided by the state. Teachers work hard to juggle between virtual and classroom environments while maintaining menial pay.
There is no reason why any person should receive an increase in pay in Montgomery County that is almost more than both city and county mayor combined. After reading an article that outlined the pay increase approved by the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System school board from $165,000 to $230,000 for the director of schools, many in our community communicated to me and thought it was completely fiscally irresponsible during the unfortunate pandemic.
With so many facing financial hardships, we as leaders and representatives of the community, should set an example for those we serve. I have heard stories from teachers and parents who have expressed their discontent with the school system that range from IEP-504 processes, heating and air conditioning issues in some classrooms, substitute teachers paid only $9 per hour to lack of supplies and teachers and parents having to foot the bill to provide school supplies for children.
Don’t get me wrong. There are things I would applaud the director of schools for doing, especially working to juggle a transition from traditional to virtual for each student despite some of the challenges faced during the virtual sessions.
However, requesting a pay increase at this juncture shows fiscal irresponsibility on the part of not just the director, but also by the school board and communicated to me by citizens in our community. We need to do better and show the people we are responsible with their tax dollars.
Jason Knight is a Clarksville city councilmember and a Montgomery County commissioner.