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Seminole teachers hope additional money to schools means pay raises

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Some teachers in Seminole County think they're being short-changed.

They said the A-rated school district is about to collect more money from a tax increase just passed in November and they want to see some of that in their paychecks.

High school math teacher Manhar Dalal can easily walk his students through complex equations.

But he said what doesn't add up are the numbers on his paycheck.

Dalal has been on the job three years and he still makes the same annual salary he received in year one: $36,000.

He said he works a second job as a tutor just to pay the bills.

"It's disappointing that they don't seem to value the work that we do and the hours that we put in," said Dalal.

Seminole's 4,500 teachers have gotten just one raise in the past five years because of a tight budget.

Next year the district will get an extra $25 million thanks to a voter approved millage increase.

The district has offered teachers a one-time bonus of $500 rather than raises. Union leaders said the gesture could rip apart the highly rated district as highly qualified teachers move to better paying counties.

"We've heard many stories of teachers where they look just over to Orange and Osceola counties for higher pay," said Tony Gentile, executive director of Seminole Uniserv, the organization that represents Seminole County educators.

WFTV was told there's no way to tell exactly how many teachers have left.

Manhar said it's not out of the realm of possibilities.

"I'm the young, highly qualified teacher that they should be trying to attract, and yet what has the school board done to keep me? They haven't done anything," said Manhar.

The union and a representative for the school board will go back to the negotiating table in two weeks.