Volusia teachers, school district continue to negotiate new contract

Parents join teachers in protest held in Deltona

DELTONA, Fla. – Teachers in Volusia County are heading back to the bargaining table Thursday evening as they continue to hammer out a new contract with the school district after months of negotiations and protests.

The latest protest was held Wednesday night in Deltona, just a day ahead of the latest bargaining session, the ninth between the two sides.

The Volusia County school district has already declared it is at an impasse with the union, meaning the talks now move to a special magistrate. But, the district is allowed to continue the negotiations, although both sides remain far apart over salaries.

The district says the union is asking for teacher pay raises that amount to more than $22 million to $37 million over two years. The district has proposed a total of about $5 million.

Teachers have become so fed up with the negotiations that they've started working on their own contract, which includes no extra hours of work and no extra activities.

Teachers, staff and parents have expressed their frustrations by protesting for the past couple of months. They say they're not only frustrated over the lack of compensation, but also their working conditions. Many teachers say they are spending the most of their time teaching to state testing and are staying at school late into the evening and working on weekends to get their jobs done.

The bargaining session Thursday is being held at 5 p.m. at the administration building in DeLand. Many teachers say they will be there to try and show their unity and desire to reach a deal.