NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The vast majority of Nassau County School District teachers have voted to reject a proposed salary increase that would raise starting teacher pay more than $5,000.
Of the nearly 700 votes on the tentative agreement, about 84% of teachers voted against the agreement last week.
Part of the issue, according to Nassau Teachers Association President Jamie Vienneau, is the disproportionate raises for veteran teachers.
Under the salary plan that was tentatively agreed to in December, first-year teachers would get raises of more than $5,000, pushing starting pay to $45,242, but veteran teachers would get a raise as low as $715. All incoming teachers with 0-18 years of experience would earn the same starting salary, under the proposal.
Brittni Wegmann, a Florida Education Association spokeswoman who represents Nassau County, told News4Jax unlike other Northeast Florida counties, the Nassau County School District declined to add extra funding to the $2.1 million that the state allocated for raises — a major sticking point.
In St. Johns County, for example, the district put $1.6 million towards raising veteran teachers’ salaries and Clay County kicked in an extra $1.2 million. Many of the minimum salary increases for veteran teachers in area counties are around $1,200.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill in June with the goal of raising the minimum teacher salary to $47,500 and provide other raises at a cost of $500 million — $400 million to boost the minimum teacher salary and $100 million for other pay raises. The law allows the district to allocate 80% of the $2.1 million to raise starting salaries and 20% to boost veteran teacher pay.
The Nassau school district and union negotiators will go back to the table on Feb. 8.
Any salary change would have to be approved by a simple majority of the teachers who vote.