Marion County School Board votes against higher raise for veteran teachers

The Marion Education Association (MEA) is fighting for raises for veteran teachers.

“I think what it is going to do is it’s going to divide teachers,” Marion Education Association President Mark Avery said. “Teachers who have been working 10, 15, 20, 30 years are feeling left out and not considered.”

The MEA’s bid to get a four percent raise for veteran teachers was denied by the Marion County School Board.

Now, some veteran teaches are upset that new teachers will be making about the same money they do.

“What that does is that it puts a new teacher making maybe $500-$1000 less than a senior teacher that’s been there 12-15 years,” Marion County School Board Chair Eric Cummings said.

The union asked for a raise after Governor DeSantis signed a bill in June requiring districts to raise starting teacher salaries.

New teachers at Marion County Schools will make $44,750 a year. They were making about $38,000 dollars before.

The school board did agree to give all other teachers a 2.3 percent raise, but the President of the Marion Education Association, who is also a veteran teacher, said that's not enough.

“We felt that the pay increase that everyone got should at least be equal to what everyone got for ‘highly effective teacher’ last year and that’s where the four percent increase would have made sure that at least every teacher got that amount,” Avery said.

FOX 35 reached out to the school districts in Lake, Orange, and Seminole counties. All of them had given raises to their teachers. None of them were four percent.

Marion County’s School Board Chair, Eric Cummings, said the district made this decision because they don’t know how much funding for next year will be affected by the pandemic.

“There would have been a high probability that next year when the funding came that we would have had to lay people off, and, for me, I’d rather see people with a job than losing their jobs,” Cummings said.

The raises will go into effect this school year.