Leon County on edge of standoff with teachers over pay raise distribution

KEY WEST, Fla. (WCTV) – Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna appeared before the state Board of Education on Wednesday to explain the district’s failure to allocate funded teacher salary increases. by the state.

The district missed deadlines, dating back to October, to submit a payroll distribution plan and funding allocation expense report approved by state lawmakers in the 2021 legislative session. Leon County received about $500,000 from the state for teacher raises, according to Hanna.

LCS officials were unable to reach an agreement with the teachers’ union on these salary increases. The sticking point is what educators call the “compression” between the salaries of those just entering the classroom and those of seasoned teachers.

“These veteran teachers with 10 or more years of experience earn the same as a 22-year-old fresh out of college,” Hanna said.

Legislation requires that 80% of the money be used to increase teachers’ basic salaries. Hanna says that in Leon County, that means junior teachers would see a $378 pay raise, while veteran teachers would only get $31.

“As far as morale goes, it’s a morale-buster for a lot of people,” Hanna told the state board Wednesday morning.

“Don’t get me wrong, I applaud what we’re trying to do here. We need to recruit teachers for this profession because we are facing a teacher hiring crisis. But not only do we need to recruit top teachers, we need to be able to retain them,” Hanna said.

Hanna informed the board that the district will meet again with the teachers’ union on Thursday, seeking to reach an agreement to implement the raises. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement on Thursday, Hanna said they will declare a stalemate and take the matter to court.

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William M. Mayer