Local teachers continue to rally for more pay

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:35 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Local teachers are continuing to fight for more pay after rallying outside the Panama City Mall last week.

Some Bay District Schools teachers were making their voices heard again at the Nelson School Board Building Monday evening. While there weren’t as many people, the ones who were showed just how passionate they are about getting our veteran teachers a pay raise.

The teachers union has been at the bargaining table with Bay District Schools for months and it seems one thing they just can’t agree on is teacher salary. The union is asking to see a 7% raise for veteran teachers, while the district is only offering 4.4%.

As part of Governor Ron DeSantis’ initiative, the state-mandated all districts to work towards a minimum starting salary of $47,500, which BDS has been pushing for. Right now they’re at about $45,615 for first-year teachers, which some veteran teachers say is not much less than what they make.

Jenn Davis has only been teaching for the district for four years now but she said she’s rallying for the teachers who showed her the ropes when she first started.

“Our veteran teachers, the ones who have been out there helping us and mentoring us and giving us all the things we need to be able to survive in our classrooms those first couple of years. They have seen like a couple dollars each paycheck so it really hasn’t been fair. We really want to see everybody get an equal share of a raise,” Davis, Elementary School Representative for the Association of Bay County Educators, said.

School board member Steve Moss said he agrees teachers deserve more money, there was never a question about that. But he said there is only so much they can do with a restricted budget.

“The debate and negotiation isn’t, indeed if teachers deserve a raise. yes, they do. Are they underpaid? Absolutely. The question is, how do we get to a point, and maybe it’s not this year, maybe it’s many years, to get to them where we do have a pay scale that is lining up to the value that they have,” Moss said.

Negotiations continue Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Union leaders are asking members to come out to show support and make sure their voices are heard.

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