'We can do better': Orange County teachers nix latest proposal in wage negotiations

Volunteers counted thousands of ballots throughout Monday to determine whether Orange County teachers agreed with the district's latest wage offer.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County teachers are sending the school board and teachers union back to the bargaining table, voting to reject the latest wage proposal on Monday.

More than 4,800 votes were counted and verified throughout the day on the latest offer from the district which includes a salary increase.

Officials tallied 3,843 "no" votes against 1,017 "yes" votes, according to a news release from the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association.

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"We feel the bargaining team got the best deal they could, considering everything," said Wendy Doromal of the OCCTA. "We want our teachers to be paid as the professional experts they are."

Parties from both sides of the table were there Monday to watch the process.

Opponents of the raise are worried that the extra money will be wiped out by higher insurance costs and an increase in the cost of living.

"I really think if you look at our budget priorities and examine it much more closely, we can do better for our teachers here," said teacher Mark Nolan.

Doromal said in her news release that Florida teachers rank 46th in the nation in teacher pay.

"The Florida Department of Education projects over 10,000 teacher vacancies for the upcoming school year and lawmakers continue to tie up state funds so that districts and unions are not able to negotiate fair pay agreements,” Doromal said.

Members of OCCTA expect to get back to the bargaining table with the school board as soon as possible.