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Teachers push for $8.2M in pay for extra workload

Teacher pay
Posted at 6:29 PM, Sep 18, 2023

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — In the midst of teacher contract negotiations, the Lee County School District is under another deadline over teacher pay.

This time it's with the grievance the Teacher's Association of Lee County (TALC) filed back in August against the district when it comes to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief funding (ESSER).

Friday there was a hearing and now the district has a week to respond to the grievance.

Monday's meeting between the teachers and the school board is different funding for teachers. That meeting is solely based on the teacher's contracts. However, the grievance is for the extra pay for teachers covering other classes.

Kevin Daly, the TALC president told Fox 4's Briana Brownlee the grievance was filed because someone with the bargaining unit felt the district violated the agreement.

"It's not a secret that we are in a massive teacher shortage," Daly said.

With the shortage means more teachers covering classes. Daly said teachers are covering now more than ever before.

"The district agreed to budget $8.2 million for last year and $8.2 million for this year or until the money ran out," Daly said. "Last year I think they ended up spending $20 million dollars on coverage."

The ESSER funds were allocated to the district years ago.

Here is the letter an elementary teacher with the district said he was emailed days before school.

ESSER letter to teachers

"They made the determination that the money ran out, and they were invoking the sentence in the article that says 'until the money ran out'," Daly said. "We have a fundamental disagreement, we believe they are still on the hook for the 8.2 million this year."

Daly said he doesn't understand how the district overspent the money but thinks it has to do with the board not understanding how massive the shortage is.

"We held a grievance hearing last week, but it is inappropriate outside of the scheduled, public bargaining sessions to comment on the negotiations," stated Rob Spicker, the district's spokesman.

"They honored their commitment which I'm very happy with, but again, I think we are still waiting to honor the commitment this year—and with the ESSER money there they are able to reallocate," Daly said.

Again, the grievance is different from the bargaining of the contracts. Daly said to think of the contract negotiations as the required base pay and the grievance as the extra pay for the extra workload for covering more classes.