OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Shannon Richards has been teaching in Osceola County for 13 years but says she makes so little that her family of two is eligible for food stamps.
Richards’ husband is on disability, making her the bread winner, making a little more than $41,000 a year.
That number is about $3,000 more than she made 13 years ago and only $1,400 more than a new teacher is paid, she said.
“It’s devastating,” she said. “If it’s just the two of us, we should be able to live off of my paycheck.”
Osceola County School Board Chairman Kelvin Soto said he feels for teachers, but state funds are needed for raises.
“Salaries is a numbers game and the main one is the one that comes from Talahassee,” he said.
Last year, teachers in Osceola County marched with umbrellas outside the district offices to highlight how much was being put in the “rainy day” fund and not into teachers’ pockets.
“Why should that amount be increasing when salaries are not keeping pace with the cost of living?” teachers union president Apryle Jackson asked.
Soto said the fund, now up to $40 million, is needed for emergencies.
Richards argues that her financial situation is an emergency.
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