Nassau County teachers demanding pay raises, contracts

Teachers in Nassau County are upset after they say they’ve been working for the past year without a contract and they were told they weren’t getting pay raises.

Teachers like Paige Rarick told Action News Jax many educators are leaving the district at alarming rates and it’s taken a toll on morale in the district.

Thursday during the Nassau County school board meeting, teachers wore red as they took a stand to vice their concerns.

“We have two main issues this year and that is teacher pay raises and safety for the students. We are frustrated mostly because we have taught all year without a contract,” Rarick said.

Rarick has been teaching in the district for more than 20 years and she says it’s the first time she saw the board come to an impasse with the teachers association where they couldn’t agree on a contract.

In addition to pay raises teachers are also concerned about the safety of their students.

“A lot of the problems that we see are students getting into fights, a lot of students are vaping,” Rarick said.

She said they would like to see more consequences for students especially for those who put others in danger.

In a statement sent out by the Nassau County Teachers association it said during negations with the board the NTA was told on several occasions that the board would not “entertain any pay raises” and was not “interested in paying out” earned sick leave.

Lindy Lesoine is another educator who’s been with the district for decades. Lesoine believes this is the reason long time educators are leaving the district.

“We’ve  lost a lot of teachers already a record number of teachers. I think we need to be paid what we’re worth,”Lesoine said.

The case now goes to a special magistrate who will review the arguments from the union and the school board and make recommendations. Teachers are hopeful this will help as they continue to stand firm on what they’re asking for.

“Every day we go above and beyond they need to take notice of it and compensate us and our regular pay,” Lesoine said.

The superintendent was not present at the meeting today and because they’re at an impasse board members couldn’t comment.