MELBOURNE, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Teachers in Florida can’t strike, but they can quit. And in Brevard County, that’s happening in record numbers. The union calls it a form of protest. Parents call it a big concern.
The Teachers Union had a big victory on Friday in their ongoing contract battle with the district, but it might not be enough to reverse the trend of teachers hitting the door. A magistrate judge finds Brevard County could and should give teachers a raise. If that happens, the union says the resignations will stop, if not, more are on the way.
“Every other school district in the state has managed to give their teachers a decent raise, our district needs to do the same,” said Anthony Colucci, the President of the Brevard Federation of Teachers, looking over the report and recommendations of magistrate Judge Thomas Young.
Judge Young encourages the school system to fund the unions proposed pay raises. The school system now has 20 days to announce its intent. If the district doesn't budge- Collucci says a wave of teachers will say good bye.
“And this is what we’re calling the silent strike, our teachers are forbidden to strike by state statute, so the only course of action is to resign or retire or go someplace else and teach,” Collucci said.
And If the school system does not give teachers their raises, mother of four Natasha Nichol is convinced more teachers from her kids school won’t be in the classroom when the next school year begins.
“I fear the teachers who come here are going to lack the same education,” Nichol said.
Natasha‘s two oldest daughters had the same fourth grade teacher at Cape View Elementary, they loved him. Natasha was hoping daughter Cadence would get the same guy, but he left for the Orlando area. He was one of the 635 who have quit in the past three years. The county has 4,900 teachers in total.
“A lot of the good teachers can’t even teach anymore, they can’t afford it.” said Nichol.
Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Mark Mullins responded with this statement:
“We agree with the magistrate and teachers’ union that our professional educators deserve competitive pay. We still believe, given our current funding situation, that our position provided the best balance of pay increases and fiscal responsibility. Paying recurring raises with non-recurring dollars is not sustainable. However, we will carefully review the magistrate’s recommendation while deciding the district’s next step.”