ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- The starting salary for a public school teacher in Orange County is about $40,000. The national average is more than $20,000 higher.
- Orange County teacher says pay raise "not enough"
- School district approved raises Tuesday night
- Orange County teachers make about $20,000 less than the national average
The teachers News 13 spoke to say $40,000 a year in Orlando isn’t what it used to be.
Brian Moriarty has been a teacher in Orange County for five years. He says the recent raise proposed at Tuesday night's school district meeting of $500 for a cost of living increase plus bonuses for effective teachers up to about $1,500 a year just isn’t enough.
He says some of his colleagues are now being forced to make tough life-changing decisions.
"I have people who are putting buying a home off," Brian Moriarty an OCPS teacher said. "I have lots of friends that are just walking away from the profession because there just isn’t enough money in it."
According to Moriarty who has a master's degree, it is frustrating to see other teachers with the same type of credentials earn nearly $20,000 more on average across the nation. Even he has contemplated his future teaching in Central Florida.
“I have looked at Seattle, they start at about 55 to almost 60 thousand,” Moriarty said. “I have looked at California. The fact of the matter is the cost of living to our wages we are one of the worst cities to live in.”
Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins was not available for comment Wednesday, but did mention at last night’s meeting why raises seem to be down.
"The biggest number from last year is $17 million that had to paid for the 10 percent increase in insurance premiums for our employees," Jenkins said.
Former Orange County teacher union president Diana Moore, who has been a part of these negotiations before feels the union is negotiating without having all the facts.
"We are bargaining before they even roll out their budget,” said Moore, who has been teaching in the district for 30 plus years said. "Usually we would look at their budget then go back to the bargaining table but we are trying to settle our contract prior to them rolling out a budget."
All of the teachers News 13 spoke with Wednesday say a formal strike is not going to happen, but what they fear is we will start to see more silent strikes, which happens when teachers start leaving schools altogether and pursue other career paths.