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Martin County School District gearing up for big hiring event, teacher pay raises

Some teachers could receive up to $3,000 added to base salary
Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 24, 2024

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Teachers in Martin County are on track to get a bump in their pay that will highlight their years of experience.

Advocates said it's something that's been missing over the years but is needed to keep the school system thriving.

This comes as the district prepares for its biggest hiring event of the year.

"It's truly the one time during that year that all our hiring managers are under one roof," Jeff Raimann, the director of recruitment and retention for the Martin County School District, said.

Raimann said while the district is in a better place this year when it comes to vacancies, the biggest need is still teachers.

"The success of our school district begins with teachers. We are developing the lives of our children," Raimann said. "You can expect to see at the [job] fair probably close to 30 teacher instructional openings. Paraprofessionals, that's teachers' assistants, would be our next greatest need."

Derek Lowe outlines how much the salary adjustment could increase the pay for teachers in Martin County.
Derek Lowe outlines how much the salary adjustment could increase the pay for teachers in Martin County.

That's why Martin County School leaders said they are pleased with a tentative new teacher contract that will better highlight a teacher's experience.

Teachers will receive an increase of $85 per year of verified experience — up to $3,000 added to their base salary. This is being called a Years of Experience (YES) salary adjustment.

"For the majority of teachers that are anywhere from new teachers starting with no experience to up into 20 years of experience range, this proposal if ratified by the board and the union would make us the highest paying on the Treasure Coast," Derek Lowe, the coordinator of public information for Martin County Schools, said.

This would be retroactive for this school year.

"That money would be equally spread out across paychecks for the rest of the school year," Lowe said.

In addition to the YES salary adjustment, according to the tentative agreement, teachers will also receive performance pay incentives including $100 for teachers rated highly effective, $75 for effective, $75 for those highly effective on professional services contracts and $50 for effective on professional services contracts.

Matt Theobald shares his thoughts on the agreement that would raise the pay of Martin County teachers.
Matt Theobald shares his thoughts on the agreement that would raise the pay of Martin County teachers.

Members of the Martin County Education Association (MCEA) teachers union would also receive a one-time bonus of $790 from American Rescue Plan dollars.

MCEA leaders said the agreement addresses an issue long ignored in state legislation.

"We're seeing compression on a salary scale and veteran teachers haven't been moving up the scales in a way that reflects their value and worth and contributions in the classroom," Matt Theobald, the president of MCEA, said.

He said members have been more engaged this year than ever before, directly resulting in an agreement that recognizes their hard work, experience and professionalism.

Gary Simmons discusses why he thinks the agreement will help teachers with the increased cost of living.
Gary Simmons discusses why he thinks the agreement will help teachers with the increased cost of living.

"Is it perfect? Absolutely not. No proposal is perfect," Gary Simmons, the chief negotiator for MCEA, added. "But does it take a step in the right direction to solve some of these objectives that we outlined in the beginning, closing that gap between cost of living and average teacher salaries? We think it's a step in the right direction."

The school district and union have another bargaining session on April 30. The agreement needs to be ratified by union members and then by the school board before it goes into effect.

The job fair will be Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon at Anderson Middle School.

In addition to teachers, the district is hiring support staff as well to include food service, custodial staff, bus drivers, and more.

Click here to register to attend Saturday's job fair.