ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orange County School Board heard from teachers Tuesday night ahead of the next round of bargaining sessions on teacher pay.
The board heard from teachers and parents and teachers told the board they have to do better.
As they head back to the bargaining table, they wanted to send a clear message to the school district leaders.
"Our paychecks are woefully inadequate to cover the cost of living in Florida, where living expenses continue to rise precipitously," said teacher Gretchen Robinson.
Teachers told the board they need more money. This comes after they overwhelmingly voted down the district's contract offer in July.
"We have to look at where we spend our money and what we do with our money because we need teachers, especially in those classes where our students are most at risk," said teacher Ashley Modesto.
Even though the board heard the final budget for the school year outlined in the meeting, they still haven't worked out a final teacher contract.
Board members said they agreed, teachers need higher pay.
"We need teachers to be paid a salary that allows them to live in this community and prosper," School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs said.
The district was offering a pay raise, but teachers said the raise would be wiped out by higher insurance costs.
"I know you guys are working hard and I appreciate what you guys do, but we need to do better," said teacher Michelle Ramirez.
Board members were going to come up with a new offer and teachers are hoping it's good enough.
"We will continue to just operate in good faith," School Board member Karen Castor Dentel. "And I just want you to have that sense that we're on your side as we go forward."
The school board approved the budget this school year Tuesday night, but still has flexibility to adjust teacher salaries.
The next bargaining session is set for Thursday of next week.
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