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Palm Beach County teachers rally Tuesday for pay raises

Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 17:16:01-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Teachers in Palm Beach County rallied Tuesday afternoon in a fight for funding.

Hundreds of teachers, school board members, and parents held a demonstration outside the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office, located at 240 S. Military Trail.


The Palm Beach County School District is fighting back after the Florida House voted to overturn a referendum to give district teachers a raise and increase school security. Now charter schools are fighting for a piece of the pie.

"Charter schools and district schools should be working together," said Eileen Turenne, the Principal at South Tech Academy in Boynton Beach.

Turenne is standing up for all charter schools, saying her teachers and students also deserve raises and extra resources.

"To say these teachers aren't entitled to raises when the school district teachers are entitled to raises, that's not fair," Turenne said.

In November, more than 72 percent of voters agreed to raise taxes in Palm Beach County to fund public schools. The language on the ballot specified that money would not be shared with charter schools.

Justin Katz, President of the Classroom Teachers Association, said he's begging the Florida Senate to be the voice of reason to protect the will of the voters.

"We think the Legislature is unhappy with what occurred and House Bill 7123 is their way of changing history," Katz said.

Last week, the Florida House passed the bill to overturn the referendum, which requires the district to share the money generated from the tax increase with charter schools.

Turenne spent 19 years as a teacher in the district and said the salary of a district teacher and a charter school teacher are comparable, and the money should be divided evenly.

"The county has enough money for all public school students to benefit, therefore they should," Turenne said.

Katz and district teachers said the results of another Florida election are at risk, and they plan to rally Tuesday afternoon and stand in solidarity during Wednesday's school board meeting.

"We're defending our democratic process, we're defending our elections here and we want everyone to come out and support us," Katz said.

The bill now heads to the Florida Senate for consideration during the last week of the legislative session.