ORLANDO, Fla. — The ballots from Orange County teachers have been counted, and they have ultimately decided to vote down the district's proposed pay raise.
- Orange Co. teachers vote down proposed pay raise
- Health insurance costs would rise with new raise, union says
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The contract for the 2019-2020 school year was rejected by teachers in a 3,843 to 1,017 vote. The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association and Orange County Public Schools will now have to return to the bargaining table.
Although the deal would have raised teacher pay, there would also be increased health insurance costs, the teachers' union said.
Several teachers who spoke to Spectrum News 13 say the union, the OCCTA, hasn’t fought hard enough to get a good deal for them.
“I would think it would send a really bad message if the CTA and the district didn’t go back to the table and at least try to work the numbers out,” Orange County teacher and activist David Grimm said.
But Orange County teacher and coach Rick Coljan said he attended the bargaining sessions and thinks the union did all it could to get more money. He said more bargaining might make things worse.
“Fourth down, we could end up with a deal that’s worse; we could hurt ourselves. No one’s happy about it, but yeah, time to punt,” Coljan said.
Grimm said that no matter what, the passion showed by Orange County teachers is just what they need in the fight for more pay.
“This whole movement of bringing teachers together this summer and being aware of this contract is just the beginning. I think we really have the attention of the public officials,” he said.
Andrew Spar, the vice president of Florida’s teacher union, said this is a movement starting to spread across Florida.
“I think what we have seen in Orange County and what we’re going to continue to see throughout the state, is that teachers are frustrated with what’s going on, and they want a true investment and true support for the work they do every day,” he said.
Spar said that although Florida teachers can’t go on strike, they can stop doing things for free, like after-school programs and clubs.
“Teachers don’t get paid to do that stuff. Those are the kinds of things where teachers can say, 'Hey, we’re not going to do that anymore,' ” he said.