Battle over teachers' pay brewing in St. Johns County

St. Johns County teachers' pay to be debated at school board meeting Thursday

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – As the St. Johns County School Board prepares to consider a contract with teachers that would affect their pay, school teachers have been protesting and waving signs along the main roads in St. Augustine.

Teachers' pay is slated to be discussed at Thursday night's school board meeting. Teachers said they're concerned about what the superintendent will recommend. 

Teachers have been protesting throughout the week. They said they want as many people as possible to know they're ready for a battle with district leadership if the school board decides not to pay them what they think they're worth.

"A special magistrate ruled for equitable pay, for equitable compensation for teachers in April. And the superintendent recommended that the school board rejected those recommendations," said Sally Cunningham, chief negotiator for St. Johns Education Association.

Cunningham said the teachers' union is pushing for three primary outcomes:

  • Associate teachers to be paid a wage commensurate with their job responsibilities.
  • Teachers with advanced degrees to receive more pay based on the degrees.
  • Guarantee that teachers retain their jobs the following year if they perform as they're expected to during the school year.
  • Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner has not commented on his position at this point. He sent the following statement to News4Jax Wednesday:

    "Making comments through the media to indirectly influence the board violates the integrity of the process and it disappoints me that the union has deployed this strategy."

    VIEW: Letter from Dr. Joyner with recommendations for resolving issue

    Cunningham said, "It's baffling to me as the No. 1 school district, we're not offering fair and competitive and equal compensation."

    The school board meeting to discuss the issue will start at 5 p.m. Thursday at the district headquarters in St. Augustine. 

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