ORLANDO, Fla. — Some Orange County teachers are organizing against a pay deal being decided on soon. The votes will be counted Monday.
- Some teachers pushing against pay deal between OCPS, union
- Teachers would get raises, but health insurance costs would increase
- RELATED STORIES:
First grade teacher Ashley Ohmart has been teaching in Orange County schools for 13 years. On Friday, she shared her story with other Orange County teachers at a rally against what they call a raw deal.
“I am a single mom of two children. It has become increasingly difficult to support two children on my own as well as being a teacher,” Ohmart said.
All Orange County teachers have the opportunity to vote on whether to accept a pay raise.
Ballots were mailed out at the beginning of July, but that raise also comes with increased health insurance costs.
“Because I do have a child who is epileptic, we’re always at doctors, hospitals, specialists. I do pay a lot of money to keep her going to all her appointments,” Ohmart said.
So if the plan is approved, the cost of her daughter’s medical care will go up.
“I will be paying a lot more money to be able to keep her at the doctors,” Ohmart said.
Organizers of the “vote no” movement say they have the numbers to vote down the pay deal.
“We’ve got more than 4,500 teachers on our Facebook page to unite to vote no,” said teacher Robert Prater.
But there’s well over 10,000 teachers in the district, and organizers told Spectrum News they were hoping to see more of them at the rally.
Orange County Public Schools and the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) are both urging teachers to vote yes, saying the deal won’t change with new negotiations.
They warn there could be problems with insurance enrollment if they don’t approve the deal now.
But Ohmart says she can’t accept that. She’s already facing tough choices that will only get tougher.
“To decide whether I’m going to purchase things for children at home, or am I going to purchase things I need for my career at school…” she said.
Orange County Public Schools is already planning to give end-of-year bonuses to teachers.
The district and the CTA have said if the pay deal goes through, they will look for more money to add to the bonuses if there are funds leftover.
But the teachers at the rally are hoping the deal will go back to the bargaining table.