WCTV | By Madison Glaser | Updated April 19, 2022
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -In Madison County, the teachers union and the school district came together Monday to try to break an impasse in contract talks.
The district wants to end automatic raises which have been part of teacher contracts for years.
Officials with Madison County Schools say the district can no longer afford the automatic salary increases.
The Teachers Union said Madison County teachers are among the lowest paid in the state and this will only lead to more staffing issues.
The two sides have been going back and forth since January 2021 since before the last contract expired.
A spokesperson with the Teachers Union said they’re simply asking for a salary competitive with surrounding counties.
“It’s a slap in the face to all of us. We come, we worked through COVID and all the stuff that went along with that and having to rearrange the way we do business and they’re slapping us in the face by saying they don’t care about that,” said Caulette Hicks.
Hicks said employees are already leaving to go to neighboring school districts for higher pay.
“It’s hard when I see people say that they are not going to stay here anymore because they don’t value us or appreciate what we’re doing and what am I supposed to say to that because I’m looking at what they’re trying to do and I don’t have an argument against what they’re saying,” Hicks said.
WCTV reached out to the school district for more information and the Superintendent of Madison County Schools Shirley Joseph provided the following statement.
“Madison County School Board (MCSB) and Madison County Education Association (MCEA) have gone through several months of collaborative bargaining for the 2021-2022 school year. We have come to tentative agreements on all contract language changes for both the Instructional and Support Staff units. The only remaining issue at this Impasse is whether the School Board will continue the automatic step wage increase for certain employees. Because of the $15 minimum wage mandate and other new legislation about how teacher’s pay increases are prescribed, the automatic step increase is no longer viable.”
The superintendent for Madison County Schools said the district is working to align itself with other school districts in the state which do not have automatic salary increases in their contracts.
The school board votes 4-1 against the Teachers Union, taking away the automatic raise that has been a part of teachers’ contracts for years.