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Flagler’s School Employee Unions Declare Impasse After 7 Months of Salary Negotiations

| December 2, 2010

Last step. (© Megan Ross)

Seven months into bargaining over salary schedules, the Flagler County school district and its two employee unions broke off their last round of negotiations Thursday evening as the two unions declared an impasse.

When it appeared that the school board’s team was not willing to negotiate so much as to put off further negotiations until February, said Brian Phillips, a member of the negotiating team representing the teachers and the service employees, “we decided at that point that we were fed up with the board’s inaction and inability to bring a compensation proposal to the table. So at that point the FECA and the FESPA decided that they would declare impasse.”

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The FCEA is the Flagler County Educators Association. Some 60 percent of the district’s 850 teachers are members. The FESPA is the Flagler Educational Support Personnel Association, which represents support staff such as bus drivers, custodians, secretaries and kitchen staff. About 40 percent of those 800 employees are members of the union. But the bargaining units negotiate for all employees.

“The biggest issue tonight was the fact that the association specifically came to the table ready to negotiate,” Phillips said, “and the quote that was given to us from the board’s team was that it has been decided that we would give a $600 bonus. Come back to the table in February. Our frustration was we were supposed to be sitting at the table negotiating, and apparently the board decided they were ‘The Decider,’ to quote George Bush.”

Mike Judd, the district’s senior director of school operations and a member of its bargaining unit, disputes the characterizations of “inaction” or unwillingness to negotiate. On Thursday night, the district did, in fact, offer a year-end $600 bonus to all employees—teachers and service personnel—“not as a full settlement for the year,” Judd said, “but until we were able to get better financial information in January and February. At that time we would continue negotiating for a potential step raises or anything like that. So at this point we were going to do the bonus.”

Direct bargaining between the district and the two unions is over. Either side can now ask for a disinterested federal mediator. If that fails, an impasse hearing before a special master would follow. That could take 60 to 90 days. The two sides will make their case. The special master would then make a recommendation to the school board, which can ratify, amend or reject it.

Flagler County Teacher Raises, 1995-2010

School-yearPercentage raise
Source: Flagler County Schools

Here’s the point of contention: The FCEA and the FESPA were asking the district to abide by its contractual obligation to award employees annual “step” salary increases: for every year’s experience, an employee would get additional pay—roughly, 2 percent. The increase keeps pace with inflation. (The two unions don’t consider those increases salary raises such as the 8 percent a year teachers got in the middle part of the past decade or the 4.5 percent they got in 2007-08.)

Invoking a clause in the contract that gives it an out during economic uncertainties, the district declined giving employees that salary increase in 2008-09. They got a 2 percent increase last year. But no increase again this year. To the two unions, that’s two such “step” increases they want made up. Phillips says the district has been peddling the same fears of financial calamity year after year, yet every year for the past three years the district’s reserves have grown by $2 million—ironically, over the same period that the district has denied teachers their “step” raises.

To the unions, the board is breaking its contractual pledge while building up its reserves at its employees’ expense. The unions have some numbers to show for their claim: the district’s reserves were around $4 million two years ago and at $7 million just last spring. They’re at $8.4 million today. The district this year got a $2.6 million federal aid allocation specifically designed to underwrite salaries. That allocation is in addition to the $5.4 million in federal stimulus fund the district received for last year and this year. That amount will run out and won’t be replaced, but voters approved the extension of a small supplemental property tax to fund essential needs in the district, ensuring the continuation of $2 million a year in revenue for the next two years. Combining it all, Phillips says the district has close to $10 million from which it should pay teachers their annual increases.

The cost of those increases is $2.1 million for each “step.” Phillips says if the district agreed to the unions’ proposal, the entire cost would be $2.1 million. Judd disagrees. He says the $2.1 million is the cost of only one “step.” If both steps are included, the cost would exceed $4 million, recurring every year.

Speaking publicly and frequently on the matter, school board members have said that the district is not in a position to make that sort of commitment at the moment, using reserve dollars, since the salary increases would be recurring every year. Using reserves for operating funds is considered risky management. The board met in executive session on Monday (Nov. 30) and decided to make the $600 offer.

“Really, truthfully, it was not meant as an insult at all. It was meant to be a good faith gesture,” board member Colleen Conklin said Friday afternoon. “Our folks have been really patient, they have not had a step increase for the last two years, they’ve worked with us,” but by the same token. Conklin added, the district has not laid off any teachers, as ,many other districts have. (Flagler has either added to or kept its enrollment steady). “We did everything that we could to keep the family together.”

Phillips says the board is mischaracterizing the cost. It’s true that granting employees a step increase would cost more money. But it’s just as true that dozens of employees retire every year from the top of the salary scale, while younger ones are hired at much lower salaries. (A starting teacher with a BA makes $38,200. A teacher with a BA and 22 years’ experience makes $57,700. Surprisingly, the difference in salary for teachers with master’s degrees and doctorates is negligible: a teacher with 22 years’ experience and a doctorate makes $63,177, or just 9.5 percent more than the teacher with a BA.) Meanwhile, Phillips says, employees’ workloads—teachers and service employees—have increased.

“We’re not asking to break the bank, we’re not asking for more than what the board already agreed” to pay employees, Phillips said. He added that should economic realities prove as dire as the school board fears, the two unions would return to the negotiating table next year ready to make concessions in line with those realities.

Should the impasse lead to a special master’s recommendation, the fact that that recommendation is forwarded to the school board appears to weigh the scale heavily in favor of the district. Florida law, in other words—a historically anti-labor state where teacher unions these days are particularly reviled by the right—doesn’t make the impasse process quite objective: the school board is not directly part of the district’s bargaining unit, but that unit has been getting its orders from the superintendent, who gets her orders from the school board. Ultimately, employees’ fate rests with the school board, whatever a mediator decides. (In August, the Duvall County School Board voted 4-3 to break its contract with its teachers union by invoking a “financial urgency” clause in the contract: there wasn’t much teachers could do but do what they’re doing in Flagler County.)

Politically, however, it may be difficult for the board to reject an objective mediator’s recommendations, assuming those recommendations go against the board’s current stance. A mediator’s recommendation would also give board members political cover to do what they don’t want to do, since they can always say at election time that they had no choice.

Speculation aside, the only certainty at the moment is that salary negotiations won’t be settled for months, with consequences that won’t necessarily be measurable. “Impasses certainly affect the morale and work environment of our folks,” Judd said, “so from that aspect it’s something that’s definitely not pleasant to go through.”

The unions are also likely to let the school board know more immediately what they think, though it’s not yet clear what means they’ll choose.

The bargaining team for the FCEA Katie Hansen, the union’s president and a teacher at Indian Trails Middle School; Jessica Clark, who teaches at Rymfire Elementary, and Maureen Bowers, a speech and language pathologist at Flagler Palm Coast High School. The FESPA team had Becky Harper, president of the union and an employee at the Flagler Technical Institute, George Pines, a bus driver, and
Teresa Cappaso, also from the technical institute.

The district’s unit included Finance Director Tom Tant, Instructional Director (pre-K through grade 8) Denise Haymes, Personnel Director Harriett Holiday, Rymfire Principal Paula St. Francis, Matanzas High School Principal Chris Pryor, and Judd.

82 Responses for “Flagler’s School Employee Unions Declare Impasse After 7 Months of Salary Negotiations”

  1. JIM GUINES says:

    I am steal trying to find out what a’SENIOR DIRECTOR” is . Is this related to age, money or experience or some sham title to fatten the ego??

  2. PC MAN says:

    How long before a meat head teabagger gets on here complaining about teachers making $100,000 a year ?

  3. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Dissolve state and federal boards of education and return local public schools to local tax payers. Unions have destroyed our public schools. The level of good people going into teaching would rise if unions weren’t involved.

    In an area like this where there are so many retired professionals, we could have experts in many fields teach one or two classes, but the ed/biz bureaucracy won’t let that happen.

    If PC man above can do the arithmetic, he should figure out what teachers are getting per hour and don’t bother whining about all the “extra” work they do at home. If they worked an eight hour day fifty weeks a year like everyone else, they could get all their work done at work.

  4. Anonymous says:

    One has to be truly ignorant to believe that a teacher’s work can all be done at work.

  5. Experienced Teacher says:

    Throughout my years of teaching I have never once had a “summer off”. I have to complete paperwork from the current year and plan for the upcoming one. In addition I attend workshops necessary to renew my certification and improve my practice. If I were to add up the hours I work in a year it would far exceed the 40 hour work week referred to by lawabidingcitizen. Planning time during the school day is often filled with parent meetings and phone calls. Many weeks during the school year I both arrive to and leave from work in the dark. I find it hard to believe that anyone who has spent time in a school in recent years would say that teachers don’t earn every dime of the money they make.

    It will be very sad if we are forced to “work the contract”, since I feel that in the end this hurts the kids. However, unless our School Board is willing to agree to abide by their commitments in our current contract they are leaving us with no other choice.

  6. . says:

    GOD bless our teachers I could not do what they do. Put up wiyh our disrespectfull kids, the parents and the government PC leaders of the schools. I agree with lawab– that unions for governmet employes are a BIG problem in our Government schools

  7. Susan says:

    How very dismaying that lawabiding feels as though we are “whining” and that there are few good people involved in education as a result of our ruinous unions. The complexity of working with children and preparing, administering and evaluating lessons for them is utterly unlike any other job in the world. It is not the “time” we have in school that makes this job so difficult but the density of the interaction. I invite lawabiding to come speak, work and volunteer at my job, so that he may truly understand what teachers put in to it. When the public sector was riding high on the glut of the economy, we made some financial gains, but none in line with the wealth it experienced. How quickly that is forgotten!

  8. support staff says:

    I am new to the union as a FESPA member. The part I have trouble with is the non budgeting for the step increases (cost of living expenses) that the hman resource department publishes. What is that about????? We all budget for our morgages and utilities and taxes knowing what they will approximately be. When they have the exact amount, and still don’t budget for it, what does that tell you? It tells me there is a total lack of respect for our value as employees. It is very sad and shame on all involved in this decision making process.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The personnel represented by the two unions are entitled to the “step” increases by “right of contract”. The district bargaining team knows this! The School Board knows this! The Superintendent and her highly paid administration know this!
    The Administration and the Board have no problem giving themselves salary increases while “stonewalling” the issue of honoring a contract. No “financial crisis” has been declared by our Superintendent, our Financial Director or the School Board. It is convoluted and self-serving thinking to assert that reserve funds cannot and should not be used to meet ordinary financial commitments. One has to ask , then, what criteria is used by the Administration to determine when and where the “reserve funds” will be used. Are we just bankrolling money never to be accessed again?
    It borders on the amoral for the administration to spend seven (7) months “negotiating” and then not have their financial facts and figures in front of them, coming instead with nothing more than a scrawny dole (dole: anything given out sparingly). This is shades of SCROOGE at Christmas.
    This refusal to honor a contractual commitment is unfair to those we employ to carry out the functions of our schools. Beyond that, it has a negative impact on all businesses in our County. We know that with increased income people spend that money on the essentials of life – shelter, food, clothing, etc- and then on other amenities as well.
    Real “economic stimulus” only comes when employed people with suitable income spend their dollars in local small businesses.
    As a local business owner my wife and I are truly disappointed in school officials who huff and puff ad nauseam (sickening to the point of disgust) during campaign times about all they plan to do for “our schools, our children, our teachers, etc.”, and then when elected turn into useless fixtures who become polarized and devoid of understanding.
    Is it time to get a new broom and sweep out the entire Administration and Board , and start anew???

    Kenneth L. Hansen

  10. chris says:

    I am a small business owner in Flagler County. What the School Board is doing – choosing to hoard millions of dollars in a savings account is not only hurting the hard-working employees of Flagler County Schools, but it is hurting my business, me, and my family. That money could be being spent locally – here in the businesses of Flagler County! Some of that money was given to the District from the federal government with the intent of being given to the employees specifically to stimulate the local economy. That can’t happen if it sits in the School Board’s bank account!

  11. MS says:

    I was present at last night’s School Board and Union negotiations. I was appalled at the fact that the District’s bargaining team were not on the same page. First one of them stated that they wouldn’t know their budget status until Feb 2011, then another stated they would know their budget in Jan 2011 and then the first person came to say later that they would know their budget at the end of Dec. 2010, around the 31st. I am surprised that these people on the district’s bargaining team are our CEO’s and Leaders and they don’t even have their facts straight. I was very impressed with the unions, FCEA and FESPA’s bargaining teams. These people need to be commended for all their months and months of bargaining for ALL of us. Times are very hard for alot of us all throughout Flagler County and our Country and the District not giving to their staff what they have worked so hard to earn is just outright wrong. Another thing said last night was that a member of the School Board was the one who suggested this $600.00 bonus. I just want to let our School Board Members know not only are we employees of the school district, but we are the VOTERS too!!!

  12. PC MAN says:

    Hey lawabidingcitizen I’m glad you appreciate an 8hr day and vacation time. lawabidingcitizen is one of those ingrates that has benefited from the blood of union workers but never acknowledges that if it wasn’t for them their would be no 8hr day ,40 hour weeks,sick days,5 day schedule,overtime, vacation pay…. just another ingrate teabagger reaping the benefits and biting the hand that has fed them. It’s comical how predictable they are. me me me mine mine mine all mine.

  13. Jenn Kuiper says:

    I’d like to thank those of you who have voiced your support for our teachers. Teaching has always been one of those professions that has been looked down on by a small minority of people. They tend to just be louder than others who support teachers. When I hear the common saying “Those who can do, do. Those who can’t do, teach.” I always get angry. I have to say that the disrespect teachers receive by some students, parents, and community members is outrageous. Teachers are always trying to perfect their craft. Does anyone really want to fail and struggle in their career and not do the job they were hired to do? No. I have seen several people who were thought of as experts in their chosen fields turn to teaching later in their careers and they failed miserably. There are so many variables that teachers have to deal with and one shouldn’t discount their work. From the elementary school teachers who REALLY DO get to know each and every student they see, find where they are coming from, and try to lead them on a path to achievement to the middle and high school teachers who try to communicate their chosen subjects to the best of their ability to a sometimes captive audience, they all try so hard. Do you really think the teachers don’t care about their students? I’ve cried over mine. Every year I see students who fall just short of their potential and choose to drop out instead of finish high school. Every year I hope that my students will learn the importance of meeting a deadline. Every year I conference with parents who push their kids too hard and parents who don’t seem to care at all. Every year I see students grow in character and become independent. We see it all, the big and the small, and it’s why we do what we do. Even though I now have twice as many students and half the planning time as I did two years ago (and still without the proper steps that are supposed to be built in for cost of living), I still care for, take pride in, and hope to educate those 150 students sitting in my classroom everyday. It’s not an easy task, especially on days when they were up until midnight working to help support their families or just up late doing homework or playing on facebook with their friends when they should have been sleeping. And I’ll never discount the union. Without one, we’d probably all be working for minimum wage. Support your teachers by writing the board members or attending the next school board meeting. The support does build morale and give us hope in this time of uncertainty.

  14. joanne says:

    I can not believe our teachers have not even gotten their steps. Most employers get a cost of living and a raise yearly. We should be ashamed as a county to be known for being so cheap we will not pay those who have our young students in their hands. It is sad they can not strike. As a parent I know how difficult
    l kids can be, each one is so different. It will be a sad day when teachers quit and leave Flagler because they can not afford to feed their family.


    OMG! TAKE THE ROSE COLOR GLASSES OFF…PLEASE! & take a real close look at the economy around you folks! If you have a job be happy you do….We all have been effected by the current economy and it’s going to get worse before it gets better so…teachers that have a job…be real happy you still have it and if you don’t like the work then quit and join the real work force that works 52 weeks a year and works nights and weekends to get it all done…60-80 hours a week with zero vacations…get real !

  16. discouraged says:

    Even though teachers have not received the CONTRACTUAL 2 step pay increase, board members have accepted a raise, the superintendent accepted a raise, positions have been ADDED at the county office in the last two years. Where is all the “budget crisis” talk when other Flagler county employees receive raises or positions are created at the district level? The teachers are not asking for money that the district does not have. Even AFTER the board pays the 2 steps, they will have millions of dollars sitting in the bank. Yes, I’m discouraged.

  17. FlaglerTeacher says:

    I also want to say “Thank you” to those people who appreciate all of the hard work that teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, custodians, maintenance workers, paraprofessionals, and many more give to Flagler County to help our children succeed. We all work hard every day – giving more than 100% to help our students learn, grow, and become good citizens. I am a proud teacher here in Flagler County. The bottom line is that the District has the money – and the fact that they are choosing to keep it in their own pockets is a slap in the face. Many of the employees of Flagler County are struggling to make ends meet. Our families have been effected by the economic climate – many of our spouses have lost their jobs – and now we are facing solely supporting our families. We are not asking for a raise. We are asking for the experience steps – to be given credit for the years we have given to Flagler County. We are asking for the cost of living increase that many other professions receive. More than anything else, we are asking for respect from our employer. I hope that those of you who support the teachers and support staff of Flagler County express that to the School Board members.

  18. Bob Z. says:

    My wife teaches in Flagler County and while may say I am biased, she works hard (arrives early and often stays late) and cares greatly for her pupils; she has always wanted to be a teacher and would never do anything else. The step increases were included ino an agreed upon contract thus they should be paid. And needless to say, step increases are not considered raises, which they have also not received (and are not even asking for).

    We all decide what we want to do in life: if someone wants to work 60-80 hours a week without a vacation (as someone posted) that is their choice; there are very few people who have such jobs and the couple I know make very good money! Regardless, that comment has nothing to do with what is happening between the teacher’s union and School Board and I hope that as many people as possible attend the School Board meeting on December 7th to show their support for the people that are helping to develop productive/future members of our community.

  19. Trent says:

    I know a quick and painless solution: Every teacher in the district should take the same day off. Call in sick. Seeing as the school board is bending the rules, do the same. I believe teachers in Florida are not allowed to strike, but does it say anything in their contract about calling in sick? I dont think so.

  20. Concerned Citizen says:

    It’s not that I don’t support teachers, because I do!!!! I just can’t help but wonder why such an intelligent group of people can be so helpless! If your being dumped on by the “powers that be”, do something about it. Okay, so you can’t strike! But, there are other ways. Don’t work late! Don’t go in early! If you don’t have enough time to get your work during your planning,either just don’t do it, or do it during class time! Yes, the students will suffer but, it will certainly get the attention of parents and the school board. Good grief, stop complaining about being treated unfair and do something about it!!

  21. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Anonymous above used the word, entitled, that’s the word unions, especially public sector ones, have drummed into the heads of their members and used to bankrupt us.

    Another commenter above bemoaned the fact that he hasn’t ever had a summer off. Boo-Hoo.

    Another teacher says she couldn’t get all her work done at work? Perhaps she’s in the wrong line of work?

    PC Man informs that unions gave us the eight hours day and two week vacation. Don’t we know it. That and a lot of other demands that have sent jobs overseas. How’s that working out for you. Oh, you’ve already got your generous pension and bennies, so you’re all set. The others on the line won’t be so lucky, but then, that’s fault of the rich dontcha know, Bush and Cheney to be specific. However, lots of people don’t only work eight hours and they don’t get overtime either. Those are the professionals who run country.

    Think about it. Fewer than 100,000 people in the county and the school budget is over $160,000,000.00.

  22. Veteran Teacher says:

    I have proudly served the state of Florida as an educator for 33 years and 11 months. I love my job and I love my students. I went in to this profession with my eyes wide open and knew that,even though, I am only contracted for 7.25 hours, my work day would extend beyond that. I am not looking for pity or sympathy. I am looking for what was contractually agreed upon. It is not only the teachers who are looking for their step raises, it is the support personnel, as well. It is very hard to go to work each day and feel like your performance is appreciated when you are not earning what you had been promised and you are continually asked to do more work for the same money.

    Each day I perform my responsiblities in a professional manner. Thursday evening at the bargaining table, one of the school board’s team members unprofessionally stated, with a smug look on his face, that they never budget for our step raises and another member of the school board bargaining team had her cell phone on and she left the table to take calls. These people earn easily earn double what I do and their demeanor at the table told me they did not take these negotiations seriously.

    Flagler County citizens you need to look at what and who the School Board Administration is spending YOUR tax dollars on. It is not on the people transporting your children or maintaining the buildings. It is not on the people feeding and cleaning up after your children. It is not on supplying your child’s classroom with all the supplies necessary for a complete and meaningful education. And it is not on those who are educating your child! Show up at 6:00 on Tuesday, December 7 and see how your ELECTED school board manages things.

  23. Teacher says:

    As a teacher, I am not surprised by lawabidingcitizen’s comments. He certainly needs an education! I know his observations are based on conjecture rather than facts. Because teaching is what I do and love, i will attempt to set him straight.

    I do NOT work an eight hour day. In order to NEARLY complete the work load dictated by the state and county, I average about 10 hours a day on weekdays and 3-4 hours a day on weekends. Do the math, that is closer to 60 hours a week. When progress reports and report cards are due it becomes more like 5-6 hours a day on weekends and 11-12 hours a day during the previous week. Are you still calculating? Time “off” in the summer and during vacations is spent accruing additional education hours that are required to maintain my credentials, catching up, planning, and creating new curriculum that will hopefully interest my students. My neighbors even complain about the hours I spend working. If I were paid by the hour, it would be close to minimum wage.

    During my hours with the students, I am an educator, counselor, nurse, statistician, secretary, judge, social director, arbitrator, mediator, strategist, assessor, to name a few of my responsibilities. Walk in my shoes and tell me that I don’t merit cost of living increase that the contractual ‘step’ ALMOST covers.

    I have worked in the profit and nonprofit worlds for the past thirty-five years and have never met a more dedicated, self-less, and professionally motivated group of people than the teachers and staff in Flagler County. We deserve our steps!

  24. Flagler Elementary Teacher says:

    I am a teacher in Flagler County. I am good at what I do; I enjoy most of what I do. I don’t work crazy hours, but I am very efficient. I have been doing this awhile and I do work more than I am paid for. I never thought that I wouldn’t. I am not asking to be paid for the extra time I put it. I am asking for my contract to be fulfilled.

    It is correct that we cannot strike. I appreciate what people have said about ‘doing something about it’. We are trying to. Calling in sick on the same day is not the answer. I have many students who can’t count on anything except for the fact that I will be there, and that I am there for them. I teach elementary students who do not always have a supportive home life. I cannot make them suffer to get my point across, and that is why I deserve my step.

  25. ms says:


  26. NonUnionTeach says:

    I gave myself a raise by dropping out of the Union. I get the same salary with or without them. Too bad the majority of teachers have to work much harder than others and get paid the same as those who aren’t required to do a fraction of the work.

  27. Veteran Teacher says:

    To NonUnionTeach

    I hope that you are wisely saving the raise you gave yourself. While you will get paid the same, it is only because the union negotiates for all. If the powers that be have their way collective bargaining will go away and then you will get paid what they see fit, when they see fit and your work hours, work days and work responsibilities will be at their discretion.

  28. FH says:

    WOW non union you sound proud of yourself for bailing on your fellow teachers maybe if you had a united front we wouldn’t have this situation just hope you never get in trouble and need the union!!!!

  29. Mella Baxter says:

    I am reading this article and the associated comments at10:47 pm on a Friday night after putting in a full day at school, then working 6 hours at one of my four part time jobs. I teach night classes at a community college, work in retail 3-4 days a week, tutor one student privately and four more for a tutoring company. I work seven days a week. And with the poor economy, I do feel fortunate that I have all five of my jobs even though I have no free time. We relocated here from The Midwest several years ago due to my husband’s work. I took a $5,000 / year pay cut, the top end of the pay scale here is close to $10,000 less than my previous school, my previous district paid 100% of my health insurance, and matched the 11% that was taken from my paycheck for retirement. In addition to working five jobs to try to earn the same amount I earned for one job, I volunteer to sponsor a club at my school every week for no pay because it’s important to my students. I take days off from my part time work to attend meetings and workshops of professional educational associations to which I belong. And did I mention, with a master’s degree and 57 additional graduate hours beyond my master’s, I make less than half what my husband makes with his bachelor’s degree, and his salary has more than quadrupled since his first job in his field, while my hasn’t even doubled, and we both started in our respective fields 20 years ago!

    The person who suggested that teachers stop being helpless and stop doing things we can’t get done at school even if it hurts our students has no idea why teachers do what we do. How can we tell a student, “I’m sorry, I know you really need me to analyze the data from our last test to see what you need to work on to help prepare you for the FCAT, but I just can’t get that done during the work day, so I’m sorry, you’ll have to figure out a way to pass the FCAT on your own. If you can’t and you don’t graduate. That’s too bad.” We teach because we want to help students succeed. Asking us to not do that is like asking a firefighter to say, “Oh, I’m sorry that your house is burning down and your pet or child is trapped inside. My shift just ended. You’re on your own.”

  30. AH says:

    Everyone is talking about the teachers. Do you know this situation effects more then the teachers? At the meeting Thursday night, there were bus drivers, paraprofessionals, secretaries, food service people. and more. These steps is for all the members of the district not just teachers. Yes, the teachers are the majority of the staff being effected. Teachers are getting slammed for being “whiners”, well I don’t think the public has all their facts before they start to commenting about teachers working a overpaid job with summers off and 8-4.

    The teachers are professional that have gone to college and some have master degrees even higher degrees, plus more credits of college than most college graduates. Yes, they have choose this profession because they have a passion for kids, and want to form the future citizens. If good teachers and employees leave the profession for financial reasons to survive, it effects not just the kids. It effects our country’s future , because the kids will not have a good basic education to survive in this ever changing world of ours. Every teacher I know that works more than 40 hours plus, purchase a least $500.00 or more to supply their classroom every year with supplies to make learning successful for the students Have your drove past a elementary school after school hours like 5 pm or later and see all the cars in the parking lot. Those are teachers preparing for their students. I really know it sounds like teachers are whining, but they are asking for what their contract states and promised by the board a step.

    This effects all the employees paycheck plus their future retirement. The retirement for them are based on their steps of years worked. So if they are behind 2 steps, that could make a big different for years, not just for the present time. I really hope you would talk to a bus driver, paraprofessional, and other employees that this situation effects . Get their twist on the situation, then just attacking the teachers, because this effects all employees that work for Flagler County School District not just the teachers.

  31. ms says:

    Amen to AH! It is so true about the steps is what their contract states and has been in past practice from the School District to give to their employees. I am a Support Staff person that works for the Flagler County School District. Let me explain to those that don’t know what the support staff does. We drive the buses the students ride, we serve the students lunch everyday, we clean their classrooms everyday, we make their schedules at school and place them in the classes, we make sure the parents have communications through flyers, we give them comfort when they don’t feel good, we make sure they have books and supplies to use everyday, we watch the students after school for the parents that are still working, then there are those of us behind the scenes that make sure the daily operations of running ALL the schools are done each and every day for the students. We are the SUPPORT STAFF of Flagler County Schools District. We might not have our degrees but we work hard for the students every day because we CARE about all of them. Maybe some of our school board members need to come and spend the day with each department I have listed above and see what we do for their/our students. I would be more than happy to spend the day showing you my job duties, which by the way I spend more time than I get paid for doing all the things I am required to do in my job. When I put in this extra time with out pay, I get much satisfaction because I know I am doing it for the students of Flagler County. For those above that stated that they are not a member of the union, boy you really don’t understand that OUR UNION is here for us. I can proudly say that I am and will continue to be part of the union that helps and protects their members. The Support Staff don’t make very much and these 2 steps are what they earned in their dedication and service to their jobs. Please support the Teachers and the Support Staff by coming to the School Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7th at 6 pm at the Government Service Building located on state road 100 in Bunnell. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!!!!!

  32. Jenn Kuiper says:

    Yes, I have to agree that our support staff are AMAZING. My mom used to work in the attendance office for one of our District’s schools so I saw this first hand as a teacher in that school and also as a daughter. It was a stressful job and she took a MAJOR pay cut to do it, but like most people working in schools, we do it for the kids. Most of staff come in early, work through their lunch, and then stay late. And they’re paid by the hour! No overtime pay for them but they want to make sure everything gets done for the benefit of the students and teachers. And like some of the comments above, these are good people trying to make a decent living so they can take care of their families in tough economic times and support their local businesses and community.

  33. flagler county voter says:

    Wow, I just got off a website and found out what our Flagler County School Board Members’ salary is. They make $30,392 a year for attending ocassional ribbon cutting ceremonies, ground breaking and award ceremonies. They meet twice a month for approx. 8 hrs total each month. In 2005 their salaries went from $25,000 to $27,000; then in 2009 their salaries went up to $30,392 and then again on Dec. 11, 2009 on the school board agenda there was a request to increase their salaries to $1200, which would of increased their pay to $30,632 but it was turned down. After reading this article and the comments I did this research and found this out. I won’t even mention the increases the superintendent or other high district officials receive, which by the way is public by just reviewing the school board docs online. As a Flagler County Voter and a working person myself of 50+ hours per week I don’t even make this income. Maybe I should run for the School Board. People are struggling in our economy today and working very hard make a living. If I was a School Board member, knowing how much I made, I wouldn’t even hestitate to give my Teachers and Staff their step raises, heck I would even throw in a bonus just because they have been so patient and cooperative and helping to making our schools run great!!

  34. bella says:

    I am a struggling Mom who works as a teachers assistant here in Flagler. I work with handicap children everyday and my job is not only challenging but very rewarding. I can not understand how the board does not think that we (support staff) do not only deserve but also NEED an increase to continue to survive. I make less in a month than the superintendent gets in “spending money”. How is this fair?

  35. Time4thetruth says:

    Seems as if this school board can’t do anything right. Their shallow disregard for the hard-working educators in this county will certainly come back to bite them. I strongly suggest the following course of actions:

    1.) Everybody attend the meeting who supports educators and support staff. Wear red and stand throughout the meeting.

    2.) Work contract hours only. If the job gets done within stipulated contract hours, good! If not, oh well!

    3.) Send “Christmas Cards” to each of our esteemed members of the school board. Wish each of them a blessed holiday, thanking them for the lack of respect shown to teachers and support staff this holiday season.

    4.) Contact local television, newspaper, and online outlets. This needs to become public knowledge.

    5.) What the school board is doing (calling all the shots) is illegal. The clause in the contract clearly states “in times of a downturn” their exists an opt-out clause regarding the step increase. Down-turn / recession is pointing at recovery (slow, but sure). This is little more than money-hoarding on the school board’s part. Find an education-friendly attorney.

    6.) The new Superintendent received a 4% raise before a single day on the job, voted in by the same school board that is “renegging” on their obligation to the teachers. Sounds awfully fishy to me. I believe voice-mail calls need to be sent to this brand-new superintendent to congratulate her on her “well-deserved raise.”

    7.) I agree with the sick-out idea. All faculty and staff. A statement needs to be made. If it ruffles some feathers, then boo-hoo. Nobody seems to be stepping to the plate anyway.

    Enough is enough. The school board keeps demanding Adequate Yearly Progress when they themselves are inadequate at best, and demeaning at worst. They want yearly gains? Then give the teachers and support staff yearly gains! (Duh!)

    Oh, and BTW, lawabidingcitizen seems to have a strong “school board” biased opinion. I know exactly why. But probably others have already figured this out as well.

  36. seaturtle33 says:

    After reviewing the above comments, I have a few things I would like to add. First, for those who say teachers should just be happy to have a job, we are. However, here is another perspective you may wish to consider-perhaps our citizens should be thankful that we choose to do this job and that we have chosen to make a difference in the lives of children when there are other less arduous jobs that pay higher salaries and offer better benefits.

    Because we care about what is best for the students and are dedicated to our profession, we hesistate to “work the clock” or have a day where we all call in sick (which actually may be determined to be against our contract as well depending on how you interpret the vague language). Ultimately, if we are forced to these measures it only affects our students and our ability to make an impact-teaching or otherwise-in our classrooms.

    This is not about a raise. This is about our contractual agreement being honored to provide teachers and staff what we have earned through our years of hard work and dedicated service. It is about continuing to provide quality education and personal dedication despite increasing demands and workloads, paying higher expenses for benefits and more money toward supplies for our classrooms, and being held more accountable for every aspect of student performance than ever. We have done this for several years with no increase in pay. All we are asking is that our contracual “step increase” for years of service be restored and provided to us.

  37. Dorothea says:

    For informational purposes only. Local school districts do not set the salaries of school board members. Their salaries are set by the state and are calculated in accordance with sections 145.19 and 1001.395 of the Florida Statutes.

  38. seaturtle33 says:

    Yes, and the School Board AUTOMATICALLY receives their pay raises each year.

  39. FH says:

    On top of the $30,000 plus that a school board member makes ALL of their insurance and benefits are paid for by the district where as teachers and support staff pay a couple hundred per paycheck for the same benefits!!!

  40. flagler county voter says:

    FH, wow I didn’t know that. The Flagler County School also receives insurance and benefits! Are they also entitled to a pension thru FRS? This is very interesting. Maybe the voters who put them in their current positions should all run as a school board member. I also understand that some of the board members have full time jobs too! Wow, isn’t that double dipping, while the rest of us are working our butts off trying to pay our bills and live in today’s ecomony. FH, thank you for sharing this information with us. I was unaware of that fact.

  41. FH says:

    Yes what they earn also goes toward Florida retirement system

  42. flagler county voter says:

    NO WAY!! The School Board members even get a pension?


    So if I want a raise all I have to do is wine to the media ?

  44. FH says:

    First off it’s not a raise secondly whine is the proper spelling guess somebody didn’t pay attention in school

  45. FH says:

    Bottom line I am not a teacher I work for myself and have been greatly affected by the economy but the school board has the money and then some to give profesionals who worked hard to get their degree and chose a profession that five years ago was considered low pay but steady work. The school board is hoarding that would help stimulate our local economy which would help businesses and help create jobs.

  46. Mike says:

    I believe “JMiller” just proved his “edumacation” level. And here-in lies the reason he is anti-teacher in his posts.

  47. sassysally says:

    I would like to thank all of you that added support staff to this situation. Most people forget that we exist. I would also like to say I am so sick of the board of education. How dare they not give all of us our steps. But yet give themselves more than adequate pay raises . I have worked for the school system as a support staff educator for over 10 years and I still make less than 1/2 of what a school board member makes. Plus I am paying over $200 a paycheck for health insurance when they get theirs for free. How wrong is that. It’s time to dissolve the greedy board of Ed. and don’t even get me started on our new joke of a superintendent and her pay increase. yes I will be there on Tues. night with an army of supporters to boot!!! Look out school board here we come, Janet Valentine I hope your there too.

  48. pc says:

    “but by the same token. Conklin added, the district has not laid off any teachers, as ,many other districts have.” Tell that to the scores of annual contract teachers who were let go with the excuse that it was because of the budget at the end of the 2009 school year. She’s either a liar, or uninformed.

  49. flagler county voter says:

    Our school board get their insurance for free and their employees have to pay. Something is wrong with this picture. Wow, this is incrediable.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I am part of the flagler county support staff and may I say a proud union member. If the voters only knew what goes on behind the close doors of the school board they would vote the ones out when It is time for there reelection and put new ones in at lower pay then they would see how tuff it is in the real world. I would like to see one of them do my job as a custodian we are down 50 + people.

  51. runningonempty says:

    I would like to know how much out-of-pocket expenses each school board member has spent on Flagler’s students. Teachers are not only struggling to put food on their own tables, but they’re also supplying pencils, notebooks, paper, food, and clothing that our students do not get at home.

  52. Joe MM says:

    Yes Annonymous, your dept. is down alot of man power, and runningonempty, I would doubt not much if any at all, and all the while the Administrative staff grows, there are no funds in the coffers for either of you, or any of us. Tthey only budgeted for themselves. Sadly it appears, they have learned to prey on your extra efforts and generosity. You know, with privilege, there is supposed to be responsibility, they don’t seem to have a problem accepting the privilege, but they seem to only care about themselves. Be patient, don’t give up and stay strong and united. Show up at tuesdays board meeting to show your support.

  53. Tired HS Teacher says:

    If the FCSB is so poor that they can’t afford to pay teachers and support personnel their contractual step increases, then why do they do things like buy IPODS for school media centers for the kids to play with? Why do they take employees who work in the central office, change their job titles, and give them $10,000 or more in raises? (This has happened many times!) Why did MHS get a new million-dollar weight room? Why did MHS have its culinary room remodeled resulting in the loss of the sole teacher’s lounge in the whole school (most eat in their classrooms now!). Why do administrators all have expensive Blackberries and/or I-Phones (while all I can afford is a TRAC phone)? Why did the band director at MHS get his own band tower (at much expense, after it failed inspection, fell down, and had to be re-erected? Why does MHS now have FOUR assistant principals?

    While I’m a teacher and struggle to get by, the people I feel sorry for most of all are our support personnel, especially those who work with our handicapped students. These people (mostly middle-aged women!) work for about $10 an hour! I know some women in our school who essentially get no paycheck, because by the time the hefty deductions are taken out for health insurance (about $900 per month for family coverage!) Social Security, federal taxes and Medicare, they receive a pittance –if even that! They can’t even join a union to represent them because they have little to nothing left every two weeks.

    The School Board and Superintendent are deluding themselves if they think people don’t belong to the union because they don’t support the union. Quite the contrary, they strongly support the union, but they can’t afford to JOIN the union –but perhaps that’s the goal of this anyway. Keep the huddled masses so poor they can’t afford to continue to unionize, and then exploit them even more.

    I’ve been reading with grea interest the comments of those who think teachers work “only” seven hours a day and have summers off. Fools! My hours are supposed to be 7:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Fat chance. I work nine hours a day, plus grade papers for two hours a night, and on weekends. I have nearly 150 students in six classes. I work 50-60 hours per week. Over the summers, we are continually badgered to attend meetings and trainings, most of which are unpaid. I’ve even gotten e-mails over the summer asking me to come in and grade exams that some students didn’t bother to take until July because their parents insisted on taking them out of school before it closed to go to another country for the summer! Additionally, not a week goes by that I am not asked to come early or stay late for a parent conference –which always take place outside of my regular work hours! Then there are always those kids who need help before or after school!

    I read in the paper that President Obama is freezing federal salaries. Some might say, well, why can’t teachers take a pay freeze too? Well, what most folks don’t realize is that the pay freeze for the federal workers doesn’t impact step increases. Federal workers are continuing to advance on the salary schedule for their seniority, just as teachers are supposed to. On top of that, federal workers pay HALF as much for their insurance as Flagler teachers do. Most people don’t realize that it costs nearly $1,000 a month to get insurance for your family if you are a FCSB employee. I don’t know how our bus drivers, custodians and paraprofessionals do it.

    Yet we can afford to spend money in THREE DIFFERENT ONLINE GRADEBOOK programs in the past five years, each one with more flaws than the last. I don’t get it. Investing in people is the best investment the FCSB can make! When will they realize this?

  54. Fannie says:

    As a supportive staff employee, I am discouraged, bothered, and worried about this whole situation. I walked into my position with my eyes wide open and enjoy for the most part what I do. The kids that I work with on a daily basis are truly remarkable and unique individuals. Sometimes when the kids have an episode, things happen. How many people would like to put themselves in jeopardy to be hit, bit, bruised, and scratched? I have known people who have had broken bones and concussions due to the kids having a meltdown. We have to be psychologists, mediators, help with their education,and be an extra set of eyes. How many people would like to work through your lunch and or break times? Three out of five days last week I did not get a break and lunch. I would like to invite any official to come spend a day with us and see what we do in a day.

  55. bella says:

    BRAVO…….Tired HS Teacher……..well said!!!!!!!

  56. Teacher in Bad Mood says:

    Exactly… Tired HS Teacher……..could not have said it better!!!!!!! First time in 12 years that I do not want to report to my classroom tomorrow for an ungrateful school board!

  57. flagler county voter says:

    Wow Fannie, I wasn’t aware of these happenings. Does the school board or school district know that these things are going on? I also want to commend Tired HS Teacher for all your dedicated commitments to your students. Once again I want to say WE the VOTERS placed the School Board in their positions to benefit the students in OUR county and they should value their employees more than they do. I disagree with the school board for not giving these steps to their employees that earned them. Oh, by the way, why did US VOTERS approve the mill for, wasn’t it for the benefit of the students and those that are with them everyday or was it for the School Board? I’m so disappointed to learn all this information about the school board’s salaries, free insurance and pay raises. Maybe next time the school board wants an increase in the mill, we as VOTERS should reconsider it because apparently it is not going where it is intended to go.

  58. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Reading these comments is astonishing. Don’t the people who work in our public schools realize they work for the tax payers, not the school board and not Obama. All the money used to run everything comes off the backs of those of us who pay the taxes, but they shoudn’t feel bad because the school board and all the other elected officials here and around the whole country think the money is free too and if they need more all they need to do is raise taxes and confiscate more of our money.

    Tired HS Teacher is right about one thing, Obama’s vaunted pay freeze for federal workers is a farce and the media are hyping as if it were real.

    Socialism doesn’t work folks. If you want prosperity, the private sector needs to be able to engage in free enterprise without government interference and one of the worst impediments to free enterprise are the unions. Like all other bureaucracies, unions only interest is in perpetuating their own interests and have little interest in their membership.

    If you think times are hard now, wait until inflation sets in as it must with the government printing money at the rate they are.

  59. Kevin says:

    PCMan: Blood and sweat of unions??? Is that like the blood and sweat of the union workers at the automobile plants up north caught on TV smoking pot and drinking beer while supposedly giving their “blood and sweat” to produce some of the finest pieces of overpriced crap one could buy, built by rugged men/women, maybe like you, here in the good ol’ USA? You joke of a human being.

    Unions have run their course and now they are nothing more than collective organizations who work for politicians to get votes and in return, receive receive redistributed wealth from non-union taxpayers. It is sickening to see happen. I’m not saying all unions function in this manner but it is obvious to intellectually honest individuals which ones fit the profile. You may not be able to discern this due to you being busy slushing things up during coctail hour from the looks of your rantings and ad homenim attacks.

  60. Joe MM says:

    Teacher in bad mood, that is exactly one of the consequences of bad faith bargaining, Its not just a slap in the face, it makes you feel like all of the extra time and extra effort is meaningless. If the District wants to continue its success, it needs to recognize that those types of traits need to be rewarded. The only group that has been rewarded thus far have been the self serving Administration. When was the last time you can remember even being giving a simple thank you for your effort? Anyway, I am going in, i’m gonna be my same old happy go lucky self, Have a great day!!!

  61. JIM GUINES says:

    It is sad that the system does not understand that it spent its future getting that 8% three years in a row during the Corley Years. These three years are re-occurring every year. Anyone who thought that was a great idea at the time should know better now. That one dumb act broke the system. It is going to be very difficult to get out of this fiscal hole.

  62. Bob Z. says:

    It would be interesting to hear what the “other” side (School Board, negotiators, etc.) has to say in their defense, other than they cannot afford it. And wasn’t it Fischer that said while he was running for the Board that he supported raises for the teachers? Or maybe he was the one who offered $600 bonuses?

  63. Mike says:

    There IS no fiscal “hole.” The school board has a SURPLUS north of $12,000,000. There should be no argument. Also, we are NOT asking for “raises.” We are requesting the previous two years of steps that are already DUE TO US.


  64. Joe MM says:

    If there is a fiscal hole maybe the Matanza H/S construction debacle caused it, I think there are about 11 million reasons why it could have. Those 8% raises for 3 years in a row still didn’t bring me over 10 bucks an hour. Just think what the rate was before then and maybe Corley thought we deserved a decent wage.

  65. teacherv says:

    I have not always been a teacher for those of you who think we are whiners. I worked 60 hour weeks in a nursery and did back breaking work and loved every minute of it. Why did I leave and become a teacher? I decided to start teaching and use my talents as a Teacher to educate my students to gain valuable work skills so they can be productive citizens. Many of our students are coming out of school with few work skills. I felt that my experience would be valuable to students. Teaching is much harder and I put in as many hours as my previous occupation. And it is much more rewarding when a student succeeds after high school in a field that you helped them train for. So don’t tell me about your long work weeks and no vacation time. It is your choice to do that work because you probably like it. We also coach, go to competitions or stay after school to help our students succeed.

    Stop bashing the unions. This is an anti-union state because we vote in legislators that keep it that way! I have been on both sides of the work spectrum and teachers are professionals and deserve to have contracts honored. Remember that we teachers also have spouses who have lost their jobs in this economy so we are also trying to survive on one salary. We are just asking to be paid what was previously negotiated.

  66. lawabidingcitizen says:

    teacherv: Professionalism and unions don’t mix.

  67. seaturtle33 says:

    I think the chart above that states the teacher raises is misleading. It does not reflect the raise amounts accurately as it counts previous steps as a “raise”. A step is an increase based on years of service and experience. For some this may seem all the same, but it is important to note since many believe teachers are just being selfish and whining for more money.

    Please remember that teachers are not asking for a raise–only the years of experience steps they have earned and that were already agreed to in the contract. When times were bad the past few years, teachers understood and continued to work hard and did not ask for a raise, nor were they given a step increase. The difference now is that the county does have the funds available and is able to pay the step increase, they are just choosing not to.

  68. FH says:

    Am I the only one who thinks lawabidingcitizen is an ignorant @ who has no idea about what they are talking about?

  69. Vanessa Gilliland says:

    I am wholy supportive of quality teachers who are dedicated to educating our country’s youths. It’s the crappy ones that really upset me. But that’s another issue. And fair is fair. And what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. How does one justify $30,000 per year to just sit on a board. Heck, I bet there are people who will do it for free or peanuts just to ensure that kids are getting the best possible education. Where’s the conscience! Especially since the biggest expense of every school budget is salary. I am tired of this Banana Republic State. And keep a close eye on the funds. Watch for sudden recurring flurries of get away workshops and any such funny expenses.

    Can someone start a petition that we can sign and submit . And do remember this episode when you vote next year!

    Also, please if you can sign the petition that the ACLU is circulating to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). The link is attach.

  70. lawabidingcitizen says:

    FH – Probably not, but that doesn’t mean you or they are right. Please point out the instance(s) of purported ignorance in my comments.

    SeaTurtle22: You’re right. The Bd of Ed isn’t spending our money wisely any more than the county, city, state or the federal governments are.

  71. seaturtle33 says:

    lawabidingcitizen-that is another meaningful reason that we all need to take a stand on this one. If we do not, we are allowing our board, county, legislators, etc. to continue their past financial practices. We all need to stand together this time and send a message that it needs to change!

  72. Get da facts straight says:

    The only individual who recieves fully paid health benefits is the superintendent.

  73. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Seaturtle33 — from your lips to God’s ears.

    Our current Republican leaders are a bunch of wimps who’d rather go along to get along than lead as the “compromise” bill announced last night clearly shows. They were played and I don’t know which is worse, they didn’t know they were being played or they knew and were being complicit.

    Anyway, one thing’s clear. Unemployment won’t be going down any time soon as we’ll be paying for another 13 months of it.

  74. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Here’s why running a public school system with union thugs in charge is counter-productive if our goal is the well informed citizenry the founding fathers were counting on to keep our country great.

    Teens in U.S. Rank 25th on Math Test, Trail in Science, Reading

  75. Bob Z. says:

    UPDATE (From the Union):

    “Late yesterday evening the FCEA and FESPA bargaining teams were asked to come back to the negotiating table this morning at 8AM. As we had promised, we agreed to hear what the District’s bargaining team had to offer. After some real, true negotiating taking place for the first time in many years we came to an agreement on compensation. We agreed to two steps, effective January 3, 2011, this would be a non-retro increase. Additionally, the District agreed to give another step effective July 1st, 2011 (keeping us on the correct step for the 2011-2012 school year). Additionally, we adjusted and corrected some issues with the Support Staff salary schedule and we finalized language for the Early Retirement package. The Building Reps at each site will be posting and sharing information with all teachers and staff so that everyone will have a chance to educate themselves on the changes to the contract and the compensation offer. We will be conducting a ratification vote on Thursday, December 16th, 2010.

    We are going to ask that as many of you that can, still attend the School Board meeting tonight, wearing red. We are asking that you come to support us as we speak to the Board to thank them for treating our bargaining teams, and the employees we represent, with respect by bringing us compensation offers that put employees back where we belong on the salary schedule.

    We also want to say “Thank you” to all of you who have written emails, postcards, letters, made phone calls, attended meetings, and so on. You are FCEA and FESPA – your professional organizations! We all stood united and shared our message, and because of this, we accomplished our goal – employees will be where we belong on the salary schedule and we will continue to be in the upcoming years. We are both proud to lead these organizations and stand shoulder to shoulder with such dedicated, hard-working employees.”

  76. Joe MM says:

    This is great news, thanks to all involved!!!

  77. Elementary Teacher says:

    I think the bottom line on this is the lack of accurate information. Does the money exist? Apparently so. Where is it? Who is getting it? Why doesn’t the CFO know the laws that guide his job description. He didn’t at the bargaining table. Now a consultant is hired to help with finances in the schools. We now have 2 budget people. I think we only need 1. That is the one who knows the laws and knows his job.- the consultant.
    About 15 years ago this county was in a budget crisis. The teachers willingly and silently allowed the board to keep their experience step money. That money was NEVER recovered. For the past 15 years, these teachers had and still have a loss of income and loss of money toward their retirement.
    Throughout this latest contract negotiation, this was never mentioned. How much should a person allow before they become vocal?
    If our founding fathers didn’t stand up for what they believed in we would still be governed by Great Britain. and BTW No unions back then “to ruin the county”. (Hoping my sarcasm comes across) Just start a new one with people who stand up for their rights.

  78. teacherv says:

    To : lawabiding citizen. I think you must just be ignorant. I have a Master’s Degree from the Universtiy of Florida and that degree tells me I am a professional. What constitutes professionalism in your eyes? You? Unions were built to protect the people from abuse. My union has protected my rights as a worker and my grandparents for over 100 years. And by the way, they just protected me again. So too bad for you.

  79. lawabidingcitizen says:


    No, it’s not too bad for me. It’s too bad for all of us paying the bills.

    If you’re a professional with a Master’s Degree yet, why do you need protection? The people you are looking to for protection are taking advantage of you. Unions exist for their own profit, not for the public weal.

    I guess during all the years you were in school, you didn’t learn that ad hominem attacks don’t forward your arguments. They only show that you either don’t have the facts or the skills for a reasoned discussion.

  80. flagler county voter says:

    Lawabidingcitizen: Apparently you don’t know much about the law. As some have mentioned above, this is AMERICA freedom of speech and equality for all. As a flagler county voter, I am very happy for the teachers and the support staff. They deserve their steps for all their hard work and dedication to the students of our county. Amazing enough is that the School District dragged this out so long, when in fact they indeed had the funds to give their employees their steps that they had already earned but they were holding out. Congrats to the Union and their members for hanging in there for their rights.

  81. lawabidingcitizen says:

    What law? American is about freedom of speech and equality under the law and equality of opportunity. American isn’t about “equality.” That’s socialism. Were everybody is equal in poverty and repression and there’s practically no way out of it.

  82. PC MAN says:

    Congratulations to the teachers and union for getting what is so rightly deserved. And to lawabidingcitizen, seaturtle33 and Kevin ha ha ha !! Now sit back and watch the firefighters prevail as well. God bless America

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