Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association Proposes Teacher Pay Raise – Tampa Bay Now

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) — The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association is pushing for a raise.

It comes as teachers struggle to meet expenses after the first week of school.

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The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association requested an 11.3% increase based on inflation, but the district bargaining committee rejected that figure, and now the teachers’ association is presenting a different proposal.

“It’s very tiring to hear year after year that you’re not enough. You’re not good enough, you’re not good enough,” said Pinellas County Schools teacher Paula Stephens.

Stephens says teachers have needed a substantial raise for years.

“I train other teachers over the summer and throughout the year to supplement my income because I can’t make do with what we have,” Stephens said.

She has been teaching for 25 years and her daughter started teaching two years ago…then recently quit.

“She was a kindergarten teacher and she did not return to work this fall. She couldn’t move into an apartment on her own because her starting salary wasn’t enough,” Stephens said.

This is an issue that the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association does not take lightly.

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“This year is especially bad because of the supply chain issues, the rising prices, the cost of everything,” said Association President Nancy Velardi.

The association meets with the district bargaining team to negotiate teacher salaries.

“To help alleviate the problems they have finding housing and paying their bills,” Velardi said.

Last week, Velardi asked teachers for an 11.3% raise, and the bargaining committee counter-offered 3.25%.

“We understand the restrictions, but we also understand that teachers deserve a higher raise than they have been given in recent years,” Velardi said.

Now Velardi is writing a new proposal with new numbers, and she says she won’t stop trying until the teachers get a fair salary.

“I think change will come, but it’s a slow change because it’s a huge change. I just hope people will be patient and wait,” Velardi said.

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The two groups will meet again on Monday.

William M. Mayer