Dr. Phil Hammonds, superintendent of Jefferson County Schools says, locally funded teachers are an investment toward a well rounded education.
"It does allow us to provide extras that are still very fundamental to our schools," Hammonds says. "We are doing things that we feel are fundamental and it all starts with having a teacher in the classroom."Right now, out of the 2,334 teachers in the Jefferson County District, 100 are locally funded.
With salary and benefits the investment adds up to eight million dollars put in by the local board. "We wish it were more (locally funded teachers). We're happy that we at least have 100, and again, the more teachers you can provide to your schools, the better job you can do for your students," said Hammonds.In Shelby County, the school system has between 100 to 150 locally funded teachers, a number that varies from year to year.
Superintendent Randy Fuller says without locally funded teachers, art and music programs would be hard to sustain.
"We look at supporting all of our students in our school system," says Fuller. "It would be very difficult, the local funding really supports the local school system and it is an investment by the school system and the citizens to ensure that our school system has a great education for all of our students."
The Calhoun County school system has budgeted one million dollars in its 2013 fiscal budget to pay for an additional seven locally funded teachers, bringing their total to ten.