Orange County teachers vote yes on 2019-20 salaries, backpay, healthcare

Plan includes 5.5% increase and planning time

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Teachers voted yes on Friday on a proposed pay increase and healthcare costs agreed upon with Orange County Public Schools for the 2019-20 school year.

"We got probably the best percent increase for the state of Florida for teachers," Wendy Doromal, the president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association said.

Doromal said the teachers union spent several hours Friday night counting more than 5,400 votes. 76% of the ballots voted yes in favor of the contract.

"We're thrilled that this passed for our teachers," she said.

Doromal said the teachers union fought hard for months, pushing the school district for raises and better working conditions.

The new contract includes a 5.5% raise, which adds up to $2,800 for highly effective teachers. It also keeps health insurance costs the same, gives teachers more planning time, and guarantees them bathroom breaks.

Later this month, teachers will also get back pay.

"On Christmas Eve they'll get their retro pay so they'll receive that check and then their pay will increase further on and then they'll start seeing the working conditions line up for the them," Doromal said.

Doromal said there is only so much bargaining the union and district can do. She said it is up to the state to fund public education and pay teachers what they deserve.

"If we're going to retain and recruit teachers we have to pay them a decent salary," she said.

But for now she is calling this a huge win for Orange County teachers.

"We know teachers deserve more. This is a step in the right direction for sure," Doromal said.

The deal comes just in time as teachers and the district are back at the negotiation table for next year's pay raises.

Teachers said they are planning a trip to Tallahassee in January to rally for higher pay.

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