Hillsborough teachers asking for help to get $4K raise promised by district

District says they don't have the $17M it takes

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - Hillsborough County School leaders have told thousands of their teachers they are not giving out the raises they promised.

Teachers were told if they were effective under the evaluation system for three years, in year four of their employment with the district, they would get a $4K pay bump, according to the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association.

But now, the school district says these raises will cost the district $17M and they simply don't have the money.

The Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association has been in negotiations with the school district since May regarding these raises. This doesn't only include teachers, but cost-of-living raises for support staff, social workers, data processors, guidance counselors, school psychologists and more, according to Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, executive director with HCTA.

"We know the district has tough choices," Baxter-Jenkins said. "But the first people you should be paying and the people you should be appreciating are those who are in the classroom, front line with students and families."

HCTA is now considering a drastic measure: asking educators only to work the hours outlined in their contracts.

"They work their eight-hour day," Baxter-Jenkins said. "They don't grade papers at home, enter grades at home, they don't stay at school until 9:00 for sports events."

HCTA says the would be a short-term measure to show the impact teachers have on schools. Schools are taking polls across the district among educators to see if they feel this is the best option.

Teachers will also be demonstrating in a "show of unity" all this week before school starts in schools across the district, Cool said.

HCTA is now encouraging parents to contact Superintendent Jeff Eakins if they are concerned about this issue.

"We love your children," Cool said. "We care about them. We work with them eight, ten hours a day. We care about what we do and we hope you'll care about us when it's our time."

This comes as the school district says by not giving out these raises, they are working to avoid layoffs.

A third-party mediator may also come in and take over the negotiations within the next few weeks, Baxter-Jenkins said.

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