Duval Teachers United, School Board raise beginning teacher pay

Pay raises for new teachers

Jacksonville, FL. — New teachers in Duval County will now be getting an increase in starting pay.

This is part of a three-year deal with Duval Teachers United that was approved by the Duval County School Board this morning.

Terrie Brady, the President of Duval Teachers United, told Action News Jax they’ve been in negotiations since January 2020.

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After speaking to Brady and Elizabeth Andersen, Chairwoman of the Duval County School Board, Action News Jax’s Courtney Cole learned this work agreement includes work and salary conditions.

But Duval Teachers United says they’re still facing one big problem: they need more money for their more experienced staff.

Brady told Cole the Florida Legislature didn’t give them enough money for experienced teachers, paraprofessionals or office personnel.

Starting teacher salary in Duval County will be $45,891.

Brady said that’s up from the $39,000 most teachers make at the beginning of their careers.

“The Florida legislature wanted us to increase it to $47,000 beginning pay, but they did not give us enough allocated money,” said Brady.

The State Legislature gave Duval County Public Schools a total of $22,882,843, with $3,385,039 going to charter schools.

“Anybody [with] over 14 years [of] experience, there was no money,” said Brady.

Brady told Cole the Duval County School Board had to step in. They came up with nearly $3.4 million more for experienced teachers.

When Cole asked Andersen where the money came from, she didn’t get into specifics, but did say this:

“The district staff worked really hard to be able to pull together some funds after the board said, ‘we think it’s really important to be able to find some compensation for our veteran teachers.’”

Brady said that money for benefits, step raises and performance pay can go fast.

Brady and Andersen both told Cole it’s important that all of their teachers feel valued.

“We are going to return back to the bargaining table like soon, very soon, to negotiate some additional revenue for those veteran teachers from 14 or 15 years and up — so that an equity between their first-year teacher and a veteran teacher is shrunk,” Brady told Action News Jax.

“There will be continued efforts. We plan to go to the legislature and ask them to, at minimum, maintain the salary increases, but also to continue to make room. This is a starting point for recognizing the hard work and professionalism of teachers in our state and county,” said Andersen.

Brady told Cole everyone from bus drivers to educators are unsung heroes that deserve more pay for their dedication — and now sacrifice — during the pandemic.

“Every day they go and they put their health on the line to meet the needs of the students, and you know what you can’t get more committed to their profession than these individuals,” said Brady.

Brady explained the next step is getting the agreement approved by the Department of Education.

She’s confident it will be approved. Once it is accepted by the Department of Education, Brady said:

— There are teachers who will get retroactive pay (back pay) through July 1, 2021. Everything else will be prorated the rest of the year.

— Whatever they are able to negotiate to bridge pay inequity will be done this school year, and not carried over to next year.