DeLand, FL – Hundreds of Volusia County teachers and school staff are planning to march to the Volusia County School Board meeting on May 8 to make their voices heard regarding negotiations for salaries, benefits, and other issues affecting the upcoming school year’s contract.
Volusia County teachers and staff will begin gathering at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, May 8, in the parking lot behind the Volusia County Government Building between Rich Ave. and Church Street just off Woodland Blvd. in DeLand. The march will begin at 5 PM, and the teachers and staff will march to the school board meeting, which is expected to begin at 5:30 PM, according to the Volusia United Educators Teachers Union. Some of the teachers and staff plan to speak at the meeting during public input.
Teachers and staff plan to discuss the negotiations regarding the upcoming contract. Negotiations between the teachers union and the school board began April 18, and the last negotiation meeting took place last Tuesday. You can find earlier reporting here and here.
The teachers union is asking for a revised 10.5% raise for teachers over a three-year period (2.5% for 2018-2019, 4% in 2019-2020, and 4% in 2020-2021). The 4% pay raise in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 would be contingent on money from the Florida legislature. The school board is proposing a 1% raise for teachers plus a bonus of $800. The bonus alone is valued at a 2.1% pay raise for beginning teachers, according to Volusia County Schools.
The school board says that it is facing funding issues since the Florida Legislature only provided Volusia County Schools an extra 45 cents per student (.01%) to the district’s base student allocation, and that is less than what County schools received from the State a decade ago after inflation.
Additionally, the school district says it is grappling with a new State mandate to put armed personnel in each of the County’s schools following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, FL. The school board says State funding falls at least $2 million short of the cost of complying with the mandate.
The teachers union says it is concerned that, if the two sides cannot come to an agreement before the fiscal year ends on July 1, teachers and staff could be stuck paying 100% of dental insurance costs. “Without a deal, I am gravely concerned that our great teachers and staff will look elsewhere for work this summer,” says Andrew Spar, President of Volusia United Educators.
Aside from the issue of pay raises and benefits, teachers and staff are pushing to reduce the number of meetings and mandated training teachers must attend, and they are asking for paid lunch for paraprofessionals and office specialists, according to a news release from the teachers union.
The school board is proposing to authorize school principals to enforce minimal standards of professional attire, but the union’s proposal would only prohibit teachers from wearing “beachwear and sleepwear” at school unless previously approved by the principal.
Negotiations between the school board and the teachers union are expected to continue May 15.
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2018.