BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Frustration appears to be boiling over within the Broward Teachers Union, who announced Thursday it’s at an impasse in contract talks.
The Broward School District denied the union’s call for a 3.5 to 5 percent pay increase for the current school year. Instead, the district countered with an offer of 1.5 percent.
As a result, the Broward Teachers Union declared an impasse.
“Teachers no longer trust the financial information from district officials,” said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco. “The information is late, incomplete and misleading. The district’s 1.5 percent salary increase offer is wholly inadequate and does not respect the exceptional work teachers do every day in the classroom. On top of this, they are not being straightforward with their finances.”
That means the union will no longer negotiate a salary increase with the district.
Now, they’ll have to prove the district has the financial means to support the pay increase.
“We’ve been asking for the finances for quite a while and we have our own professional financial people that come in and we go through the hundreds of pages of their finances and we find money all over the place that can really give us the five,” said Fusco.
Teachers union officials said their teachers deserve a hefty increase for all of their hard work.
“Our teachers are already working in schools feeling the budget cuts for resources and they’re taking money out of their pockets to make sure they have the supplies for their students,” said Fusco. “So it’s not just about a raise because they want a raise, they deserve a raise.”
The lowest paid teachers, according to the union, makes about $42,000 per year. A 1.5 percent increase would be a little over $400 dollars extra.
That 1.5 percent increase is very little to someone like educational support specialist Roosevelt McClary, who makes $15,000 a year taking care of develop mentally disabled students.
“School board believes in equality. Equality is everybody gets the same. So if they get the teacher 1.5 percent, what about the lowest paid unit? What would they get? That’s really pennies and I think it’s very sad and disheartening for our unit,” McClary said.
The district responded to Wednesday’s findings, saying, in part, “The School District looks forward to continuing negotiations with the BTU.”
Because teachers are not allowed to strike in the state of Florida, the teachers union plans on making every step in the impasse public.
They want people to see how little teachers get paid for the amount of work they do and the care they give.
“The incentive is we truly, truly love our students. We can have a horrible day and walk into our classrooms and our students could say we picked a flower for you or they drew this cool little picture or they slip and call your mom or call your dad and you know that they love you,” said Fusco. “That is the best incentive that we have we know that we’re making a child’s day.”