ORLANDO, Fla. — Some Orange County teachers are seeing red after the school district approved raises that some described as "insulting."

  • Orange County teachers not thrilled with cost-of-living increase
  • School district announced increases at board meeting Tuesday
  • Some school board members sided with teachers

Orange County Public Schools is giving teachers a cost-of-living increase of $500 to base salaries. But that news didn't sit well with teachers who packed a Tuesday afternoon board meeting.

The teachers cited the rising cost of insurance copays and premiums. Some said, "it’s not working," and "people don’t want to work for nickels and dimes anymore."

Many of the educators expressed their displeasure in a less vocal way, donning red T-shirts with "WTF" in big letters on the front, and "Where's The Funding?" written underneath.

"I think we need a serious re-evaluation on where the money goes," one teacher said during the meeting. "Because we're losing extraordinary teachers at a concerning rate. We’re losing them. And I’m terrified."

District officials said they based their raise numbers on 2018-2019 evaluation ratings. In addition to the $500, teachers rated "highly effective" are getting an additional $1,525 salary increase, while "effective" meant $1,125 more to a teacher's base salary.

That means that salaries are rising between 3.4 to 4.2 percent, and a starting teacher salary will increase to $40,500.

The Classroom Teachers Association union and the school district hashed out the numbers together.

While more than 7,000 people signed a petition to get the board to vote "no" on the agreement Tuesday night — and some board members voiced their opposition — it was approved.

"So that $17 million that had to pay for the deficit in our insurance program actually had to be spent on that rather than raises," Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins said.

If voted down by teachers, it sends the parties back to the negotiating table. The school board is expected to take up the issue at its upcoming budget work session.