• Central Fla. school board members to receive nearly 4 percent raises


    CENTRAL FLORIDA - School board members across Florida will be receiving almost 4 percent raises from the state, shocking some board members who have seen deep cuts in their districts.

    The Orange County's teachers union spoke with the school district at a special bargaining session Thursday afternoon.

    The district is offering teachers a larger raise because rising property values will generate more tax revenue for the county.

    The proposed raises start at $500 for new teachers.

    Returning teachers would get a little more than $1,400 a year, plus an additional $800 to $1,000 depending on the teacher's district rating.

    School board members are also getting raises.

    Eyewitness News learned school board members across central Florida make more doing their part-time job than some full-time teachers.

    The state is giving them a nearly 4 percent raise that would boost their annual salary anywhere from
    $36,000 to $42,000 depending on the county.

    One Lake County school board member said he's not going to accept the raise.

    Instead of telling the state to keep the money, he's taking it and donating to the Lake County Education Foundation.

    Lake County school board member Bill Mathias was shocked when he found out the state was giving school board members automatic raises of about 4 percent.

    "Leaders take the cut first, not get a raise after everyone else was cut," Mathias said.

    Lake County had to cut 65 teaching positions and bus stops for 4,000 families.

    He said a raise during still tough times sends a horrible message:

    "That our priority is not on our teachers in the classroom, that is what it says," Mathias said.

    The raises for school board members are tied to a state formula and are automatic because state employees received a 3 percent raise.

    School board members receive nearly a full percentage point more based on their county's population growth.

    The new salary for the part-time job in Osceola County the lowest in central Florida will now be $36,807.

    Orange County's school board will be the highest paid at $42,455.

    School board members do have the authority to voluntarily decrease their salaries.

    The raises come as teachers all around central Florida are still waiting to find out if they will get raises.

    The governor originally promised $2,500 raises for teachers, but many districts are still negotiating how to divide those raises among other employees.

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    Central Fla. school board members to receive nearly 4 percent raises