HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — As Superintendent Jeff Eakins addressed the issue of teacher pay increases at the Hillsborough County School Board meeting Tuesday, teachers stood up and walked out.
Hundreds of teachers, students and other staff members overflowed to Kennedy Boulevard, holding signs and chanting for pay increases that teachers say they were promised, but have not yet received.
“I feel like they’re not even working with us. They’re not taking care of the people who are right there in front of students every day. I feel like we’re not valued,” Riverview High School Teacher Valerie Chuchman told WFLA. “We’re not asking for anything extra and we’re just asking what was promised and the district is not honoring that.”
According to Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, Executive Director of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, one-third of the teachers in Hillsborough County have not received any of the increase on their pay scale since 2013. Some teachers tell us they are owed around $4,000.
“It’s frustrating for a couple of reasons. Number one, whenever you’re waiting for money, I mean any worker knows what it’s like to be waiting for that raise. We’re coming up on the holidays so of course monetary pressure is an issue. But it’s also frustrating because of the disrespect that the district has shown to our people,” Baxter-Jenkins told WFLA. “Rather than bargaining in good faith the district has drug things out, failed to answer questions, failed to really engage in any discussion, and just said no.”
Last week students from Jefferson, Blake, Robinson, Plant, Alonso, Freedom and Steinbrenner High Schools staged a walkout where they all left the school building and met at the flagpole to protests for their teachers.
News Channel 8 has learned that the week after Thanksgiving, teachers throughout the district are planning to “work to contract” which means only working 8 hour days. This means they won’t stay for after-school activities, such as clubs or tutoring. They also won’t take home any work.
Teacher negotiations are ongoing. Stay with News Channel 8 for updates.