Orange County School Board approves teacher pay raise

Orange County School teachers are a step closer to a raise but teachers say increasing insurance costs in the agreement will make it difficult to live on.

Teachers in red are ready to fight for a higher raise. They stepped in front of Orange County School Board members on Tuesday night.

" While I don't expect to get rich, I expect a respectable raise," one teacher said. Another teacher said that "I am hesitant to continue in education because I have to take into consideration of raising my family."

While the teacher's union says it's a 4 percent pay raise of the payroll, teachers disagree, saying it's not a raise at all because of rising insurance premiums. They say it's all smoke and mirrors and call it inaccurate to say it's a 4 percent raise.

Superintendent Barbara Jenkins says, the cost of insurance continues to rise from $8,400 per teacher to $9,200 per teacher for insurance. "The biggest number different from last year is $17 million that had to be paid on insurance programs," she said.

Coach Mark Nolan says that "I'm gonna ask you not to vote for this.The bargaining that's occurring does not represent the wishes of the people."

Some questioned whether there are funds available for bigger raises. Board member Karen Castor Dental wanted more time to look into other option. "Reject this agreement and send it back to bargaining," he said.

The board approved the vote nonetheless, concerned they could be accused of unfair labor practices by postponing it. Chairwoman Teresa Jacobs says that they'll look for more money and more answers if teachers reject the agreement. "We really need more money. so if it comes back to us we'll look again," she said.

She also said that  teachers need to convince state lawmakers that they need more funding. On average, a teacher earns around $46,000 a year. A new raise would be around $1,900 more. Many say that would be used towards new insurance plan, though.