On Friday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – hosts Leahy and Cunningham took a call from Carrie, a Davidson County elementary teacher who voiced her concern with Davidson County looking to inadvertently pit teachers against taxpayers by raising taxes to additionally fund public education.
Nearing the end of the hour, Carrie stated that she felt the money has been continuously misappropriated and never reaches the teachers’ pockets. Leahy questioned, “Seems the real problem is why is the system broken? What is wrong with the system? Why isn’t the school board and administration trying to fix it?”
Leahy: In the studio my good friend guest host Ben Cunningham. Ben thanks so much for joining us today.
Cunningham: Good morning Michael.
Leahy: And we’re talking property taxes in Nashville and the promise because this is a sure ticket to getting re-elected. From desperate David Briley. He wants to increase your property taxes. What’s unknown is whether it’s going to be 10%, 20%, or 30%. Carrie who lives in Davidson County wants to weigh in on that. Carrie, welcome to the Tennessee Star Report.
Carrie: Ok, I’m a Davidson County teacher.
Leahy: Oh! By the way. We love Davidson County teachers. Every Davidson County teacher that has something to say, we want you to call into the show. Thanks for all the work you do as a teacher Carrie.
Carrie: I appreciate it. I’m on my way this morning and have taken over on the side of the road here to talk to you. So, what I wanted to bring up is the fact that I think I can speak for many many teachers and that we are concerned, we do need more money. We have been promised more money in the past. Even when that money has come that it is allocated in such a way that it does not trickle down to us.
Leahy: In other words, they put it in places that don’t do any good and don’t give the teachers the money they deserve.
Leahy: Do I have that translation right? (Chuckles)
Carrie: Yes, sir. So when that money does come, we would appreciate it being earmarked in such a way that it cannot be done in any other way except given to the teachers. Or to whatever the community is wanting to fully fund the school. But the point we want to make is, even we have why does it have to be a property tax increase?
My lord, look at all the money that is coming into Davidson County from tourism. Into Tennessee from tourism. Why does it have to be property tax first? Why does it have to look like us against the people’s pocketbooks?
Cunningham: Carrie, that’s a wonderful point. The teachers are always used as pawns in these situations.
Carrie: And us teachers is the one’s getting the tax on us too. You know. We’re really concerned about, just like you are for other reasons too is that we’ve got so much money rolling in with the tourism. It’s really a rich county.
Leahy: So it sounds to me Carrie like you’re more interested in the issue of property taxes. That’s sort of the argument that John Cooper is making right? He’s apparently promising not to raise property taxes and getting it from other sources. It sounds like you agree with that approach.
Carrie: I do agree with that approach and I also agree with the approach of people being responsible with the money they receive.
Leahy: Yeah, it makes sense. Ben you were going to say something here?
Cunningham: Budgeting is also about setting priorities. And if educating our children is not a high priority then something’s really really wrong.
Leahy: Carrie, can I ask you a question about education while I have you here?
Leahy: I want to listen to everybody. I particularly want to hear from teachers because our education system needs improvement in my view. Tell me, what general area are you teaching in? Elementary?
Carrie: I teach elementary.
Leahy: Great. So, how long have you been a teacher?
Carrie: Eight years.
Leahy: Ok, good. Good good. Are you enjoying the job or are you finding that you’re having problems with discipline as several other teachers have told us?
Carrie: Not so much in elementary. You do have trouble because there’s not a lot you can do but at the same time, I think that shows itself in more unmanageable ways in the higher grades.
Leahy: Let me ask this final question. Very curious to see. So you’re listening to us and you’re a teacher. How did you find us and why do you keep listening to this particular program?
Carrie: Well, I think that you are conservative and I think that’s a possible thing to be as a teacher. You all are a voice that is saying how I feel. And I think that you’re saying how a lot of teachers feel.
Leahy: See, I think that’s my sense too. I think, and I’d be curious about your thoughts about this. I think this whole thing has been framed incorrectly. I think that they try to paint teachers in a bad light because they’re unions or whatever.
They’re asking for more money and that’s not the question it seems to me. Seems the real problem is why is the system broken? What is wrong with the system? Why isn’t the school board and administration trying to fix it? That’s all I see. What do you think?
Carrie: Well, I’m a union teacher. I believe in the union. They’ve helped us so many times. I understand why they’re asking for more money. I understand why they’re asking for more taxes. Because that has historically been the only way that we seem to get anything trickled down to the teachers.
But at the same time, I think if we could see people being fiscally responsible and finding the money. I think there’s money out there already and I think that it’s just not being used responsibly.
Leahy: Is it difficult for you to be a conservative and a teacher at the same time? In other words, do you go in and think, ‘don’t tell anybody I’m a conservative.’ Or do you have discussions about politics? Or is it a negative that people know you’re a conservative in schools.
Carrie: No, no. I don’t think it’s difficult at all because again I think that there are more teachers out there. Think about it. When they’re taxed in Davidson County that’s more that they’re going to bring home. My point is that I think it’s just teachers against taxpayers being taxed. My point being is that we are the taxpayers also.
And we’re in a rich, rich location. In a rich county. A rich state as far the tourist industry and all the money that’s come in. When you compare it to other places we’re doing so well. And so that’s my point today.
Leahy: Thank you so much for calling in. Tell our your fellow teachers to listen.
Listen to the full hour:
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