Orange County teacher pay raise still in deadlock

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Twelve-thousand Orange County teachers have shot down a plan by the district to speed up their raises.

They've already been waiting for those pay hikes for months but their union said what the district is offering isn't a fair deal.

The money to give thousands of Orange County teachers raises of about $200 a month is in the bank, but the teachers won't get any of it for months.

The union rejected the district's offer to bypass a special magistrate.

"They're trying to bypass a third party that's neutral and go right to the eight school board members," Orange County Classroom Teacher's Association President Diana Moore said.

The teacher's union doesn't like the district's deal because it ties pay to performance and the union believes the raises aren't enough.

Orange County Public Schools predicts 97 percent of teachers would be rated effective or highly effective and receive a nearly $2,300 to $2,500 increase.

The teacher's union wants all teachers to receive raises between $3,000 and $4,100 based on their time with the district, not a performance ranking.

"That principal can walk in on one day with one tick (mark) and totally drop your salary. We don't think that's a fair system," Moore said.

The district argues it's required by law to tie pay to performance even though other districts are not.

The chief negotiator said the district is giving as much of a raise as it can without going broke.

"To use non-recurring funds would be like using your savings to pay for your mortgage eventually you're going to lose your house," OCPS chief negotiator Scott Howat said.

He claims the raise being offered to Orange County teachers is among the highest in the state.