PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Protecting the will of the voters. That’s the message hundreds of teachers in Palm Beach County made loud and clear Tuesday afternoon.
Chanting outside the classroom and armed with signs, the teachers rallied outside the Supervisor of Elections Office to make their voices heard.
“Let the voters speak, they voted it was a clear vote,” said Michelle Enos, a teacher for the district.
Teachers say they’re fighting to protect the will of the people after more than 72 percent of voters in Palm Beach County voted to raise local taxes to fund traditional public schools.
“Not only is the Legislature overriding the will of the voters in this county, but they’re also putting us in a position where we can’t deliver what we promised to the voters,” said School Board Chair Frank Barbieri.
Barbieri said he’s appalled by the bill passed by the Florida House last week. The referendum was set to give district teachers a raise and increase school security, but the House voted to overturn it, which will now require the district to share the money with charter schools.
“How do you explain to people that your vote counts when in fact they went to take their vote and it didn’t translate into what they voted for,” said Mary Anna Mancuso, a political strategist. “If you go to Macy’s to buy a sweater you don’t come home with the T-shirt you come home with the sweater, and that’s what they’re getting at this time."
Across the parking lot from the district rally, charter school teachers and students also rallied and fought back saying they feel like they are not be treated equally.
“I think it’s not fair. We’re all equal, and we’re all the same. We all work as hard as other schools,” said Grace Coriolan.
The teachers are also planning to gather Wednesday ahead of the school board meeting to stand in solidarity.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.