The Pony Express

Teachers Battle School Board for Promised Pay Increase

Joshua+Fishbein%2C+an+art+teacher+at+Temple+Terrace+Elementary%2C+speaks+regarding+the+denied+pay+increase+and+the+passion+he+holds+towards+his+career.
Joshua Fishbein, an art teacher at Temple Terrace Elementary, speaks regarding the denied pay increase and the passion he holds towards his career.

Joshua Fishbein, an art teacher at Temple Terrace Elementary, speaks regarding the denied pay increase and the passion he holds towards his career.

Courtesy of HCPS website

Courtesy of HCPS website

Joshua Fishbein, an art teacher at Temple Terrace Elementary, speaks regarding the denied pay increase and the passion he holds towards his career.

Amanda Hase, Staff Writer

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Hillsborough County teachers have been in a standoff with the school board after being denied a $4,000 pay increase.

The teacher raises are based on negotiation between the teacher’s union, the superintendent and the county human resource division. The school district claims money is tight and they can no longer afford to honor these pay increases.

In response, students and teachers have participated in peaceful protests to try and take a stance on the issue. Many have rallied in Downtown Tampa outside the Hillsborough County Public Schools board meeting. A large number of students, parents and staff members showed up in support of the teachers.

WFLA

Teachers decided that the week after Thanksgiving Break they were going to “work the contract”. By doing this, teachers did not stay extra hours to finish any work and did not take any work home. Teachers arrived together and left school at the designated contract time.

Patrick Geanconteri , Social Studies Department Head, is one of the many teachers who have decided to participate in this ongoing protest to earn the pay increases that were promised.

“Teachers are the foundation of America, we teach everyone. If here, in Tampa the teachers are not satisfied that the contract is not being upheld, we need to do what we have to do on our end to make sure that they live up to their end of their deal,” Geanconteri said.

Richard Manley, a longtime teacher at Gaither High school, speaks for many as he talks about the betrayal he felt when the school board announced that they would not being giving them their pay increases.

“Many teachers feel like a promise that was made to them is being broken so they feel disrespected and now there’s a lack of trust between the management and teachers,” Manley said.

Thomas Morrill, who was a teacher for seven years prior to becoming an administrator, sympathizes with the staff and understands and supports their ongoing protest.

“I totally understand where our teachers are coming from, [they] work very hard, they work a lot of hours, they take a lot of work home. Sometimes they even work on the weekends grading papers [and] sponsoring clubs.” Morrill said.

Courtesy of the HCPS website
The Hillsborough County School Board meets to discuss teacher pay raises and listen to comments from the audience.

If the School Board would have given the teachers their raises, the total would have been close to $17 million. Since the school board claims to not have enough money to give the promised pay raises, they have negotiated to give 10 percent, or $1.7 million, which would equal a $92 increase for every teacher, including those not due for a raise. After taxes, this leaves teachers with $2.66 per paycheck.

Regardless, teachers have continued to serve students and some continue to work by the contract until a final decision can be reached. The school board is scheduled to meet again on Jan. 23.

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Teachers Battle School Board for Promised Pay Increase