Students march for teacher pay in Brevard County

Lots of kids, lots of signs. Students are taking a stand on behalf of their teachers in Brevard County. The school system won’t budge on raises, so the students marched to district headquarters.

The Friday demonstration was organized by two middle school students. Brevard Federation of Teachers, the union which represents teachers in the county, said rallies will continue through the summer, even though school is out.

One of the big talking points for teachers is they spend their own money on classroom supplies. The union says this county pays $2,000 lower than the state average. Now, students are sounding off about the controversy.

In the past three years, more than 600 teachers have left the county. Students have seen their favorites move to other districts or get out of education. Even though a magistrate judge sided with the union two weeks ago, the district will not meet the teachers on pay raises.  

“We don’t want to lose anymore, and we want to get highly qualified certified teachers, not just get bad teachers, because we can’t hire anyone because their salaries are so low,” said Hayden Mucha, 13.

Mucha goes to McNair Middle School, and his mom is a teacher. Hayden said, for the superintendent and board to disregard the judge’s recommendation, that brings this year-long conflict to a new level.

“We felt that was unfair, and we wanted to remind the school board, the students and the parents also care about how much the teachers are getting paid,”’Mucha said.

The special magistrate made it very clear the school district has the funds available. In a statement, the school district says the money is not there and officials have talked about the strain the district is under a to comply with new state security requirements after Parkland. The union says the judge’s decision means that is not accurate.

“And they do put in a lot of personal time, they do work over the summer, and they deserve a raise,” Mucha said.

The next school board meeting is June 24. The union says a big march is planned for that day.