• Brevard County teachers rally for better wages amid negotiations

    By: Christopher Boyce , Ken Tyndall

    Updated:

    VIERA, Fla. - Brevard County school teachers showed up in force at Viera's school board headquarters ahead of wage negotiations that resume Wednesday.

    The teachers are hoping that by banding together they'll be able to make an impact at the bargaining table.

    Dozens of teachers were seen wearing red shirts and rallying along the roadside with signs calling for better pay.


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    "We're working hard, we've got a lot of passion and compassion for our community and kids," said Jonathan Hilliard, an elementary school teacher. "We need a livable fair wage that represents that."

    The union is asking for raises raging from $1,725 to $2,300 a year. Currently the school board is offering between $540 and $770 a year with a one time bonus of $1,000.

    "It's unacceptable that Florida ranks 46th in the nation in average teacher pay. And Brevard County is 1,103 dollars behind the state average," said Anthony Colucci, president of the Brevard Federation of Teachers.

    Some teachers aren't thinking twice about the offer.

    "That is not what we need, because the bonuses don't go for retirement," said Kevin Howkins. " What we need is actual money coming in on the paycheck on a weekly basis."

    The board has wrestled with budget limitations before, as negotiations hit an impasse last December.

    During the last bargaining session two weeks ago, both sides made progress on issues including additional planning time for teachers.

    Since the district and union couldn't agree on teacher pay, the issue will go before a Special Magistrate in a month.

    A resolution will be recommended, but the school board will have final say. 

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