WINK News Exclusive: Lee County schools administrator concerned over teacher shortage

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Rachel Murphy, Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A Lee County public school administrator reached out after WINK News spoke with 22 Lee County teachers about salaries that make it hard to live in the county where they teach.

Several teachers have spoken about the pressures and responsibilities they feel, and how they are struggling to make ends meet.

“Think about how expensive rent is getting, food costs, gas, everything like that. It really adds up so much,” said Brigette Rivette, a Lee County School Teacher.

The Lee County School administrator asked WINK News to conceal her identity.

“Kids aren’t getting the instruction that they’re supposed to be getting when they have two classes in one room or when a history teacher is having to cover for a math teacher,” the administrator said.

WINK News called, emailed and texted every school board member. Three agreed to speak with WINK News. Debbie Jordan admitted it’s hard to live in Lee County on a Lee County teacher’s salary.

“I think that we pay if you compare us to what’s going on around, sure. Yes, in order to live here,” Jordan said.

Melisa Giovannelli told WINK News the board is trying to help. WINK News asked if they plan to raise wages.

“I hope so, that’s our plan,” said Giovannelli, “They are in the middle of bargaining. I can’t really talk about it.”

Armor Persons, the School Board Chair, said Lee County Schools is working hard to increase teachers’ pay.

“I wish I could say we had money, some people think there’s just a lot of money out there. But our budget is balanced, so wherever we take additional monies to give teachers, we have to take money away from something else,” said Persons.

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