Negotiations over teacher pay in Martin County continue, 9 months after salary bill passes

District proposal would raise minimum salary to $44,900
Posted at 11:01 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 23:09:01-04

STUART, Fla. — Negotiations over teacher salaries in Martin County remain ongoing nearly nine months after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 641 on June 24.

"The Martin County School District is one of four, I believe, for the state that has not settled their governor's raise money," said Murray Middle School teacher Arian Dineen.

The bill, Funds for Operations of Schools, states:

"Each school district and charter school shall use its share of the allocation to increase the minimum base salary for full-time classroom teachers to at least $47,500, or to the maximum amount achievable based on the allocation."

In Martin County, the maximum amount to raise the floor for all teachers is $44,900.

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Dineen said veteran teachers also deserve a raise and not just new teachers.

"It's very demoralizing. This year we've been working twice as hard as ever," said Dineen. "We started off at $2,200 and came down to $ 1,800 and when they came back to the table just this past week, they withdrew the three-year language and they also withdrew the money, so nothing."

A statement from the Martin County School District reads:

"The school board's goal has always been to have the money allocated to our district in the hands of teachers as quickly as possible. The district's proposal fully complies with the mandate of HB 641."

"That's wonderful that their proposal meets the requirements of the law," said Dineen. "It does not meet the requirements of the real world."

Dineen said it's an issue that could impact which teachers decide to remain with the district.

"When we have counties all around us, not only the governor's raise, but an additional amount of money for veteran teachers to respect their expertise, that means in the real world, Martin County is going to lose teachers," said Dineen.

Dineen said the district could offer additional money to veteran teachers from its general fund, but that the district is choosing not to do so.