Hillsborough teachers petition for raise at school board meeting

Hillsborough County teachers are planning to pack the school board meeting Tuesday afternoon to fight for promised raises.

“Our teachers and ESPs have been hard at work on behalf of students for more than half the year and The district is still not bargaining in good faith or granting contractual step increases,” the Facebook page for the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association reads for this event.

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The district promised to give teachers a $4,000 raise after three years of good reviews. In exchange, teachers would not take a raise for three years.

The district now says they have already paid out millions in pay and benefit increases and with the current budget constraints, can simply not afford to pay the raises now.

Teachers have been fighting to get these promised raises for several months. Many schools have staged teacher rallies where instructors as well as aids, guidance counselors and other key school personnel help signs outside of their schools.

Students have also staged several school walkouts in support of teachers.

Tuesday’s school board meeting will be held today at 3 p.m. at Hillsborough County School Board Headquarters, located at:

901 E Kennedy Blvd
Tampa, FL 33602

More than a dozen teachers signed up to speak in front of the superintendent and school board members, Tuesday evening.

According to the executive director for the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, negations are currently at a standstill; the union asked the district to come back to the table and continue talks with them. 

“The school board and the superintendent have not bargained in good faith. They have treated their employees with disrespect and we’re here to make sure people realize we’re not going away," Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, executive director for the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association said.

School officials tell ABC Action News the raises were not written into the contract, adding it's negotiated every year. The union argues the district knew the salary scale, bargained it, agreed to it, and chose not to set aside money in the budget to support it.

ABC Action News requested comment from the district and we were told they do not comment during negotiations. 

“It’s disappointing that they don’t seem to value us where as parents and kids see the value in us," Jennifer Terenzi, who is a teacher for the district, said.

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