MELBOURNE, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Teachers and school staff across the state of Florida are participating in what they are calling a “walk-in” on April 17, in support of increased funding for public schools.
Public-education supporters will gather at more than 300 schools in 41 counties for the walk-in, which was organized by the Florida Education Association (FEA) and local educators’ unions.
In Brevard County, there has been an impasse between teachers and the public school system. A magistrate judge will preside over between the two parties next Tuesday.
Pay is the biggest issue for teachers, but the union has lowered its request on that. The union now seeks a raise of a little more than 2 thousand dollars for teachers who are rated highly effective.
"I've been at this for over 30 years and the pleasure of seeing the lights come on and never goes away," said Fred Kilgallin, who teaches high-school English at Melbourne High.
He and a group of his fellow teachers are joining the walk-in to the Liberty Bell on school grounds, where they will all sign a petition and take a photograph.
"Our Liberty Bell has parts of FDR's famous speech about the seven freedoms," Kilgallin said. "The last time we took a picture there, that framed up 'freedom from want,' so yes there's a lot of symbolism there."
According to the FEA, Florida ranks among the bottom 10 states nationally in funding for students, and education spending remains below pre-recession levels.