Teacher bonuses key issue as negotiations break down again between district, union in St. Johns County

Wearing red, teachers in St. Johns County attend negotiation meeting. (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St. Johns County School District and the teachers union continue to be at odds over pay raises after months of back-and-forth.

The two sides met again last week but were unable to reach a deal on how much teachers should receive on their next raise. Dozens of teachers attended the negotiation meeting on Thursday and have spoken out about the need for pay increases at recent board meetings.

One issue, the sides aren’t able to agree on how the raises should be distributed. The district wants more one-time bonus money, in the form of a $750 retention bonus for veteran teachers, which makes up about 20% of the total workforce, while the union wants raises that will recur every year based on evaluations along with a $963 increase in pay for starting teachers, to make their starting salary $48,463.

“We made the decision to not counter with their offer because we felt our proposals were still too far apart as SJEA wants more recurring dollars added in salary, and the district only wants to contribute nonrecurring money in the form of a bonus. We appreciate that they were willing to meet with us, but we know that the St. Johns County teachers deserve more than this offer,” the St. Johns Education Association (SJEA) wrote in an email to members.

The district declared an impasse in December after 77% of teachers rejected a proposed pay raise. A mediator was then brought in and there was a hearing on March 22 to try to find common ground.

Both sides will submit their proposals to the mediator by Wednesday and wait for their recommendation which is expected in mid-May.

Any raise would then have to approved by the school board.

Teacher pay raise proposals from both the St. Johns County School District and the St. Johns County Education Association. (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

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