No approval for teacher raises in Orange County's budget

Teachers pleaded for 3 percent raise


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Angry teachers in Orange County continued to demand a raise Tuesday night, as Orange County School board members approved this year's budget. So far, the budget doesn't include the raises many teachers feel they deserve.

One by one they shared their struggles with board members on trying to balance teaching and surviving on their salaries.

"Currently I'm actually homeless," Angela Curry told board members. "I have had to give up my home and stay in a car I've had for 12 years."

Teachers packed the meeting, pleading with board members for a 3 percent raise on their salaries, and the $2500 a year Governor Rick Scott has promised them.

"We are only asking that you fund what you value. If you truly value teachers, there is money in the budget, show us you value us," chimed in one teacher.

The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (OCCTA) is helping teachers fight for the raises. They say the district has $400 million dollars left over from last year in their general fund and for the past five years has continually had large reserves. The union says they want that money to be spent on teacher's wages.

"The question that we have every time is, where does that money go?" said OCCTA president Diane Moore.

But the school board members say handling their $1.7 billion budget each year isn't that simple.

"I don't think any of them think there is a wad of money lying around to give to you," said board member Rick Roach, whose wife is a teacher. "I'd tell on them."

Though a budget was approved, both sides will continue to negotiate. Another bargaining meeting is set for Thursday.