Walton County Teachers Await Pay Raises - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Walton County Teachers Await Pay Raises

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Walton County is one of only about 15 public school districts in the state that have not given out teacher raises. Governor Rick Scott allocated funds specifically for increases but the district and teacher's union have yet to decide how to distribute that money.

The two groups were scheduled to meet Tuesday, but that meeting is now moved to January. That leaves the more than 600 teachers in Walton County without the promised pay raise at the holidays.

The state gave the district about $1.3 Million to distribute among teachers for pay raises.

"We have no funds for anything [pay raises], you know, this is really good that we did get the money from the Governor," said Mary Hobbs, the district's chief financial officer.

Hobbs said after giving the charter schools a portion and meeting other financial requirements, the district has about a million to share with public teachers.

"So far this year, we [the district and union] have talked about contract language because we did have quite a bit of that so we've just now gotten into laying the amount of money on the table."

Hobbs said they'll also decide whether to divide state funding among only teachers or everyone, including non-instructional staff.

"We've just got to work through negotiations and see how they want to distribute the money."

While some teachers said they're disappointed they won't receive any extra money before the holidays, they're waiting patiently.

"I think it's important that we make this happen as soon as possible. There are a lot of young families out there and young teachers who are really living paycheck to paycheck," said Lisa Burns, a fifth grade teacher at Emerald Coast Middle School.

"Every job has it's own challenges, but being a teacher definitely has its own very specific set, and it's nice to be recognized for the work we put in," said Christine Fiacco, also a fifth grade teacher at Emerald Coast Middle School.

According to a release from the state, Washington and Franklin County educators are also still waiting on Governor promised pay increases.

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