June 2024

Grayson County Educators Demand Raises with Help from Parents, Students & Community

KEA members, local education associations, and communities are standing up for better pay across Kentucky. Educators, parents, and communities are fed up with low starting pay, small raises, and high turnover.

In a march down Main Street to the Leitchfield Public Square courthouse, more than 175 educators, staff, parents, students, and community allies took to the streets to advocate for what’s right in Grayson County—fair pay and raises for its teachers and classified school employees.

Led by Grayson County Education Association President Adam Spinks, who is a high school teacher at Grayson County High School, a rally called “Stand for Students, Stand with Educators” on June 10 called for better pay for educators who are too often left behind when it comes to fair raises. They protested that a 3 percent teacher raise and an additional $1 an hour raise for classified workers proposed by the school board for the 2024-25 school year wasn’t enough.

The community came out to support their efforts to demand more, calling for an additional 2 percent and an additional dollar more per hour this year and another 5 percent raise next school year.

“Public education is the most important job this Commonwealth has. An investment in you is an investment in Leitchfield, Kentucky, and an investment in Grayson County,” KEA President Eddie Campbell told the rally attendees. “The future of the Commonwealth sits in our classrooms, and you deserve to be paid as the professionals you are.”

One teacher carried a sign saying, “21 years with Grayson Co. Schools/Thousands of dollars out of pocket on my classroom & students/2,654 School Days/500-plus students/500 opportunities to make a difference!/I am worth an extra 2%.” Another teacher’s sign said, “My second job paid for this sign.” A student held a sign that read, “I can’t afford to be a teacher when I grow up.”

Local president Spinks pointed to surrounding counties and school districts that already pay higher salaries and are offering bigger raises. He and fellow teachers say that despite their affection for Grayson County, too many quality teachers are leaving for better pay elsewhere. Neighboring Hardin County educators received a 6 percent raise. Bath, Hart, Franklin, and Simpson County school districts each received a 5 percent increase. Green County and others have raised teacher salaries 10-11 percent.

“We are the second highest enrollment of all the counties that surround Grayson County, but we’re paid the second lowest and we’re seeing the effects of that,” Spinks told WBKO News. “Our quality teachers and staff members are leaving our school system and going other places because they cannot afford to work here. We’re very concerned about that.”

“Our educators are seeking employment elsewhere, they are leaving and we’ve got great educators that would stay if they were compensated,” April Logsdon, a special education educator at Grayson County Middle School, told WHAS. “We give our heart every single day for our students. We just want the support. We want to feel like we’re appreciated for our hard work and dedication every single day for our kids to be successful.”

Alisha Manion is a concerned parent worried about the education their kids will get at the schools if qualified teachers leave for higher pay, she told WHAS News. “I have kids who already went through the system and two more that’s coming through and I don’t want their teachers having to work two or three jobs, coming in tired to teach my kids. I want them to be happy and excited to teach them,” she said.

Doug Robinson, superintendent for Grayson County Schools, issued a statement regarding the community call for educator raises. “In the past few weeks, I have met with principals, the Grayson County Education Association, and school leaders to provide additional information about our budgeting process and our numbers and, perhaps even more importantly, to listen.

“We know our teachers and staff are the very heart of our schools. They give their all to give our kids their very best every day. They deserve compensation that reflects their professionalism. And we will continue to work toward that mutual goal.”