ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Teachers have been through it all since the pandemic hit and now Florida teachers are fighting for higher wages.
Last year, the state of Florida passed a law spending $500 million which required school districts to increase starting teachers salaries.
Although the raise in pay sounds good for any upcoming teacher, it didn’t benefit all of them.
Escambia County School District employees Darzell Warren and Dr. Kimberly Thomas said they were both thrilled the state had finally recognized the worth of teachers.
“Well we are excited because now to teach in Escambia County Florida you will make starting out $43,500,” says Dr. Thomas.
While this was a huge accomplishment… It wasn’t all it played out to be.
Warren says, “With the legislation that was put forth by the governor, he wanted teachers to get $47.5 thousand but he did not send enough money to districts to accomplish that.”
Not only was it not enough money, but more importantly it left out any gain for veteran teachers who had spent years trying to make that amount.
“When you look at the state not valuing the experience of our veteran teachers, it was a hard pill to swallow for them,” Warren told WKRG.
The Escambia County School District has spent months working on a way to address the compression issue and negotiate to use the money in such a way that all their employees get what they deserve.
“Custodians, bus drivers, administrative assistants, secretaries and all of our staff because we want you to know all of you are valued,” says Dr. Thomas.
The district has revised the salary schedules and are now waiting for ratification of their proposal. They hope by doing this it might give the state a little perspective on how the money should be controlled between local school districts.
Warren says, “Not having the legislature decide that 80 percent of funds are going to go to one group and not acknowledge the face they got so many other people they need to consider.”
They could have answers as soon as spring break but for now Warren and Dr. Thompson are just thankful for the support of the district and that the state has taken initiative.
“Just wanted to acknowledge that we heard you, we heard our teachers, and our employees throughout the district and they truly and wanted to come back to the table and address some concerns,” say Dr. Thomas.
Warren adds, “From our side of the table… we are happy that they heard us and acknowledged that their were problems with previous offers and they came with good faith.”