NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Metro teachers are being paid less than other comparable districts in the state. That's why Director of Schools, Dr. Jesse Register is proposing increasing their starting salary to $40,000 a year.
It will cost the district nearly $6 million, but they say it's a small price to pay to recruit the best and the brightest.
Lipscomb University student Mary Cate Hopson changed her mind about her career path.
"The pay was a big thing in why I wanted to be a pharmacist," Hopson explained. "Then I was like you know you've got to do what you love."
For her that's becoming a teacher.
"…when the light bulb goes off in their head and the children understand what you're teaching them it's such a great feeling," she said.
When she graduates in December, Hopson will be faced with a decision about where to teach.
"It's a really hard decision just because with the standards being so influential on the teachers jobs and their pay and everything like that," she said, "you know it's tempting to go towards a private school…"
Metro Schools is changing marketing campaign and taking its message on the road.
"There's a lot of great students coming out of the different teaching programs in the area and across the country," said Shirene Douglas, Metro Nashville's Manager of Recruitment and Staffing. "We want to make sure they come to Nashville and they don't go somewhere else because we really need their skill set here."
A proposal to increase teachers starting salary from $34,059 to $40,000 year could sweeten their sales pitch, making Metro's salaries more comparable to other districts in the state.
"Our district isn't the easiest place to teach, that doesn't mean it can't be a great place to teach," Meredith Libbey, Special Communications Assistant to the Director, said. "We do offer a lot of professional development opportunities for teachers. But we also know at the end of the day we all have to pay our light bill."
Hopson says while money is not why she's pursing this career, it could determine where she goes.
"I guess when I come to make the decision I'll have to look at all of those factors and see where I think I can make the best difference but also (consider) what's going to be the best for me," she said.
The proposal would not only benefit new teachers, but all of those who have been with the district for less than five years. First it has to be approved by the Mayor and Metro Council.
Metro hires about 500 new teachers a year. They've already offered 250 jobs, months earlier than usual- as another way to remain competitive.