• Orange County teachers rally for higher pay

    By: Cierra Putman


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County teachers were protesting ahead of a school board meeting Tuesday as part of an ongoing fight for higher pay.


    To bring awareness to the issue, they’re vowing not to work off the clock this week.


    The Orange County Teacher’s Union said that 79 percent of teachers reported in a survey that they considered quitting because they’re not happy with their contract and the amount of overtime work.


    Read: Orange County teachers, fed up with working unpaid hours, plan to 'teach to the contract


    The union said 1,400 teachers completed the survey, which was about a third of all the teachers it was sent to.


    Orange County teachers protest
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.
    Orange County teachers protest
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.


    The district said it’s working to give teachers raises, but said it needs more money from Tallahassee to make them significant.


    Read: Florida Gov. Scott: Blame system for teacher pay


    “It’s just that we haven’t seen that kind of money come out of Tallahassee, especially in recent years,” said Scott Howat, Orange County Public Schools chief communications officer. “But certainly, we would love for the state to work and push for our teachers to get a more recurring salary raise over time.


    The union said they determined teachers work an average of 20 hours in unpaid overtime a week.


    Read: Unions, Seminole County Schools hammer out wage increase deal


    “Teachers have said that they really want better working conditions, more planning time, and more instructional time,” said Wendy Doromal, president of the Orange County Teachers’ Association. “They just really want to teach and be respected as the experts and professionals they are.”


    Kristene Silverman said she’s considered leaving the profession she loves.


    “You’re not given enough time to do it and you’re not paid well for your efforts,” said Silverman.


    The district said the average teacher salary is $48,245.


    They work 44 weeks a year and 37.5 hours a week, which makes their hourly pay $29.24.


    That means the extra 20 hours the union says most work is worth an extra $25,731 a year.


    Orange County teachers protest
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.
    Orange County teachers protest
    © 2018 Cox Media Group.


    “That would be a huge number to achieve. Does every teacher deserve additional dollars up to $25,000 more? Certainly. We would love to see the Legislature appropriate and allocate enough money to,” said Howat.


    To bring awareness to the issue, the union has asked teachers to teach to the contract and not work the unpaid hours in order to highlight how much work they do without compensation.


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