Brenno Carillo / The Daytona Beach News-Journal / June 14, 2022
DAYTONA BEACH — Volusia County school employees making less than $15 an hour will get a pay raise earlier than expected.
On Tuesday, Volusia County Schools, Volusia United Educators and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees announced that the measure will take effect on July 1.
The decision between the district and the two unions, who signed memorandums of understandings, came after months of negotiations to anticipate the Oct. 1 deadline set by the last Florida state legislature session, which ended in March.
“We worked with the district to begin that $15 an hour pay on the first day of the new fiscal year,” said VUE President Elizabeth Albert in a phone interview. “So we decided to go ahead and start that fiscal year on the right foot and not wait until Oct. 1, which was a very good decision.”
The district’s educational support professionals will benefit from the increase, Albert said.
“Some clerical folks, teaching assistants, School Way Café, bus drivers, campus advisers — the hourly wage-earners.”
Albert commended the state Legislature for making it possible for school districts to guarantee the minimum wage raise sooner than the 2026 deadline.
She added that negotiations with the Volusia County School District were “very easy” and “simple.”
“First of all, we knew we had to do it anyway,” Albert said. “We wanted to express to the folks working in our system that this is something that both parties agree upon, and we wanted to bring that increase to them as soon as possible.”
In a social media post on Tuesday, the district said that the decision “is a shared commitment of the district and both unions to prioritize wages for employees.”
‘This is not the end’ for salary negotiations
In the announcement, the district also said that negotiations will “continue to address the issue of compression and raises for the 2022-23 school year.”
Albert also reminded school employees who already make more than $15 an hour that Tuesday’s decision is just a “first step” in the ongoing salary negotiation talks.
“This is not the end, this is just the beginning,” Albert said. “We want those people to know that we are thinking about them, too.”
Albert added that most teachers in the Volusia County School District earn more than $15 an hour, but that they are included in the salary negotiations for the 2022-23 school year as well.
“The message is that we care, and we want to do what’s best for our educational professionals,” Albert said.