First of all, thank you to the nearly 100 teachers who showed up in full force with Red 4 Ed and offered us valuable direction. They even had to open a wall so that we didn’t break fire code. THANK YOU FOR STANDING WITH US IN SOLIDARITY.
The educators who were in the room with us tonight unanimously told us to declare impasse on the School Board of Brevard County’s non-competitive salary offer that nowhere near keeps up with inflation. You probably received a bells and whistles email from district communications that says we rejected an offer that they prettied up with strings and bows, but when you unwrap it, all that is really inside is a salary increase that is laughable and a bonus that will be taken up with taxes and will not be there to support you next year, NOT TO MENTION that bonuses DO NOTHING for our FRS pension retirement.
The district might tell you that your total offer is $1770 for highly effective and $1450 for effective, but what they’re not telling you is that your actual raise that will be reoccurring, affect your bottom line, and infuse your pension is only $770 for HE and $540 for E. Everyone gets a highly taxed non-reoccurring bonus of $1000. Sure. $1000 sounds shiny- but don’t be distracted. We need real dollars in our salary that stick.
We made it clear that even though the superintendent and school board are not committed to teacher pay in Brevard County, OUR UNION is. 79 instructional vacancies are unacceptable, and the school board has NO plan to address the issue and EVERY suggestion that we’ve made has fallen on deaf ears. After ANOTHER month of stalled negotiating tactics, the school board came back with no counter proposals. They are more than content to let the issues fester. Our solutions for salary, planning time, air conditioning, discipline, and advanced degree pay have been rejected with no counter proposals or suggestions on how to compromise. This is unacceptable. Our union will not kick the can down the road.
Why Impasse? First of all, an impasse is a hearing in front of an impartial magistrate. The law spells out what the magistrate considers when making his decision. Two of those factors we believe are strongly in our favor, comparable size districts and contiguous districts. Another factor is availability of funds and we do not believe that they put all the funds on the table. We believe there is more to be put on the table. For instance, in October, the district CFO told us that there was ABSOLUTELY NO MORE funding for compensation and that “all the money was on the table.” Low and behold over $4 million dollars was added to their offer today. We believe they have even more than that. The school board is not bargaining in good faith. We cannot keep passing proposals and then waiting six weeks for them to tell us no. We’ve come up with positive solutions and fixes and they’ve come with relatively nothing. We feel that we have a compelling case for our contract language as well.
In almost EVERY district that has settled, educators have received between 2-4% salary increases. Our vacancies in this district highlight that we are becoming less competitive and less valued by the School Board of Brevard County.
Please look for more information from us regarding language to which we have agreed and language still on the table. As always, thank you for all that you do for our students and our profession. OUR union will keep fighting the fight. WE ARE BFT.