Orange County Public Schools offering 9% raise to teachers amid contract negotiations

Pay, health care costs have been sticking points; teachers must now accept or reject offer

WKMG ClickOrlando | By Thomas Mates | February 22, 2024

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Maria Vazquez announced on Thursday that the district would be offering teachers a roughly 9% raise amid contract negotiations with the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association.

The school district and the union have been at an impasse in negotiations, with pay and health care costs being major sticking points.

“I am just thrilled to be able to share some important information today. I sent a letter to all of our teachers announcing that we will be accepting the special magistrates’ recommendation on salary and compensation and moving forward with a historic 9% salary increase for our teachers,” Vazquez said.

The superintendent went on to say that the salary increase for teachers rated “highly effective” would be 9.7%, which she said accounted for 90% of teachers in the district. Teachers rated as “effective” would receive a 7.7% raise, according to Vazquez.

The superintendent said the next step in the negotiations would come on March 5, when the school board would be having an impasse hearing.

“We believe — unless the classroom teachers association rejects the magistrate’s recommendation on salaries — the only remaining issue the school board will address March the 5 is the health insurance,” she said.

The union has said that the district is looking to increase health care costs for teachers by 64%.

“OCPS School Board trying to increase healthcare costs for teachers by 64%…FAR MORE than even the last 10 years of claims growth,” the union said in a tweet on Wednesday.

“What is misleading about that is that it assumes that every teacher shares the same amount in that change and that’s not accurate. Some teachers — they have the plan that is at no cost, will see no increase. At most, it would be $646 annually,” Vazquez said.

She added that the district believes the 9% pay increase would more than compensate for any increased cost of insurance.

News 6 has reached out to the teachers’ union for comment. This story will be updated if we receive a statement.

Vazquez said Friday is the deadline for teachers to accept or reject the pay increase.

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