Let's Check the Facts!

All the subjects that people wonder about.  It’s amazing how rumors get started.

The best way to deal with misinformation is with the truth, and solid information, so “Let’s Check the Facts”!

So what about Teachers Salaries...

Like a bad game of “telephone”, misinformation spreads quickly and twists over time. One such myth that has continued is that I have voted against teacher raises. I’m happy to set the record straight.

I have voted to give teachers raises every year that I have been in office.

When I was elected in 2018, the raise that had been offered was $440*, or 1%. Shortly thereafter, the teachers’ union declared impasse. By the time we had a contract, the raise was increased to $1,100*, or 2.3%.
We went into negotiations for the 2019-20 school year immediately after that and passed a 3.9% average raise, or $2,000*, plus an additional $1,200 longevity supplement for teachers who had been with BPS for 12+ years.
With the uncertainty surrounding the economy and state budgets, the only recurring money available for raises in 2020-21 was the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation initiated by the governor and passed by the legislature. We used that funding with its specific guidelines to raise minimum teacher pay over $7,000 and gave teachers over that amount at least $850.
This past year, with significant revenue reductions, we used the TSIA to raise the minimum salary again, and teachers over the new amount received a $245 increase. In both 2020-21 and 2021-22, the board added funds to make sure that instructional staff that were left out of the state funding formula received the same raise (including media specialists, counselors, reading coaches, and more).

After continuing to cut the budget, and using TSIA funds, we now have on the table a 4.15% average salary increase offer along with $300 in an FSA. This is the largest offer since 2015-16 and the earliest we could (potentially) have a contract settled that I can remember.

In addition to all of this, we have given thousands of dollars in one-time bonuses over the last 4 years and have already agreed to thousands more in one-time premium pay in the 2022-23 school year. To be clear, bonuses are more heavily taxed and do not count towards retirement calculations.

Let me be even more clear, some of these raises are not what we would have wanted to be able to give or what our teachers deserve or need. I am fully aware that our teachers can cross the county lines to the south and west of us or go into a related career field and make thousands more per year.

We are at a critical point in the education workforce shortage, and Brevard is not alone in this struggle. But I am committed to continue the work I have already been a part of to keep raising the bar for compensation for ALL of our BPS employees because they have responsibility over some pretty precious little people.

(*Amounts for Highly Effective teachers, which make up the vast majority of our teaching force. State law requires that Pay for Performance raises for teachers rated Effective be no more than 75% of Highly Effective.)

Commitment to Public Education

I’m used to people lying about me. It comes with the territory. I learned in ministry and in this position that you have to have a thick skin, but still a tender heart.
When I started seeing things go around suggesting that I don’t support public education or that I’m trying to destroy public education, though, I just had to laugh.

I attended public schools, taught in public schools, have sent all of my kids to public schools, subbed in public schools, volunteered in public schools – in media centers, with choirs, working with small groups, chaperoning field trips, painting buildings, etc. And over the last four years I have poured my heart out to make our public schools in Brevard the very best they can be. And crazy me, I want to do it again for four more years!

I support homeschool families and families that choose charter schools or private schools. But the truth is that the vast majority of the children in our county and our country attend traditional public schools! I’m not ready to throw them away! There are awesome people working in our public schools. So many are salt and light in a really tough environment. AND I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON THEM!

I don’t intend to sit on the sidelines, and I hope you won’t either. We need teachers. We need bus drivers. We need substitutes and volunteers and mentors and business partners and church partners – the whole community – to make our schools even better. I’m in this for the long haul. Join me!