Lee County Schools and teachers union debate use of $32.8 million funds

Reporter: Claire Galt Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

Lee County Schools and its teachers union agree there is $32.8 million to spend on teachers’ salaries this year.

As they continue negotiations, the issue arises of how to spread that money around between new and veteran teachers and teachers who excel.

WINK News talked to many who said they have never seen the district offer that kind of money before.

Jake Nordbye, a single dad and teacher at Bonita Springs High School, however said, that’s not nearly enough for him. He showed WINK News his paycheck and bills.

Nordbye currently makes $49,374 a year. He’s been teaching for nine years. Under the district’s proposal, he said his salary would increase to $54,350. Under the union’s, it would go to $54,238.

Nordbye texted that a lot of teachers were expecting the teachers association to ask for additional money for salaries in response to the district’s $32.8 million proposal. That didn’t happen. For teachers with eight years of experience or more, he said the district’s proposal will actually pay more than the union’s.

While the district’s would pay Nordbye a little bit more, he doesn’t like either offer or think either is enough. The union wants veteran teachers to get a lot more money in this contract, so they are pushing for a new base salary structure.

The district wants to maintain a multi-tiered pay scale, factoring in whether a teacher is effective or highly effective in addition to the length of service. Negotiations continue Monday.

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