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Sign promoting teacher pay raises defaced on 'Teacher Appreciation Day' in Martin County

Posted at 11:12 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-09 04:13:33-04

A grassroots group of Martin County parents trying to get a raise for their kid’s teachers had one of their signs defaced trying to promote their cause.  

The group on Facebook is called “Martin County Parents United,” which has nearly 5,000 followers after just a few weeks. They the posted picture Tuesday, vandalized with a contrasting “NO” across the sign on “Teacher Appreciation Day.” 

“It was very upsetting because I don’t understand how anyone would look at this and say that we wouldn’t want it,” Danielle McDonough said in an exclusive interview with WPTV.

McDonough is the Martin County mom who started the group. She’s even funding all the signs, like this one in Derek Powell’s yard. “Just showing appreciation for the cause,” he said.

“These teachers do more than just teach. They are a huge part of our lives. We have to stop treating our schools like a babysitter,” she said.

Starting annual salary for a teacher in Martin County is $38,300 after a recently passed $300 raise. 

Not nearly enough, says this 20-year veteran Martin County teacher who wants to remain anonymous in fear of losing their job. 

“Teachers are having a hard time making ends meet. They’re often getting two or three jobs at a time to just pay their bills to be able to afford to teach,” she said.

The group is asking the school board to use their millage rate tax hike recommendation to the county commission to include teacher pay raises. Then it would be up to voters. 

It would mean, on average, about a $125 increase per year on a homeowner’s property tax. 

Their first stop is next Tuesday’s school board meeting: following the money right into teacher’s pockets. 

“I just believe if we followed that and let our tax payers know that we’re going to hold the county, the school board to that. We’re going to make sure that money gets to it teachers,” McDonough said.

The group is inviting all Martin County parents to the Tuesday, May 15 meeting and speak out about teacher pay raises during the public comment section.