PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — School nurses throughout the Palm Beach County School District system will soon notice their paychecks from the County Health Care District may be smaller.
The woman WPTV met with in-person wanted to remain anonymous but still wanted to share her concerns.
Money is tight for a lot of people living and working in South Florida, that includes school nurses.
“I think everybody is hurting with the increase of cost of living, groceries, electric bill, rent, mortgage," the nurse said. "Everything seems to be increasing significantly within the last couple of years.”
The school district contracts out nursing services to the Palm Beach County Health Care District. On Monday, some 180 school nurses assigned to school campuses throughout the county got an announcement via a Zoom call, they didn’t see coming—significant decreases in pay.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to continue with the amount that I’m losing," WPTV's source said. "The average that I’m hearing between everybody is between $8,000 to $10,000 annually.”
Other nurses like her posted WPTV's Chris Gilmore's information on local message boards and emails came flowing in expressing frustration. Those nurses also wanted their names withheld.
WPTV contacted the Health Care District of Palm Beach County for an explanation and got the following response, explaining the change from salaried to hourly pay to ensure fairness and competitive pay across the market:
“The Health Care District of Palm Beach County is converting the school nursing staff’s pay structure from a salary to an hourly pay structure. This change will allow better coordination and alignment between the public schools’ academic year and schedule and the nursing staff’s workdays. Also, this change will ensure fairness in compensation for all nursing staff across the health care district and is market competitive.”
Additionally, nurses were told they’d get one large paycheck at the start of the 10-week summer break as opposed to bi-weekly. The change didn’t go over well, with many nurses feeling pushed out.
“I never thought my organization would do something like this to me,” WPTV's source said. “If anything, I would think pay increases over time, not decreases.”
School nurses will be switched to hourly pay effective July 30, leaving an uncertain future for the essential workers.