Lee County Schools vote unanimously to improve teacher labor contracts

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:

The Lee County School District voted unanimously to improve teacher labor contracts for both existing and new-hire teachers.

The contract, which the district signed off on Tuesday evening, will ensure that a teacher’s salary will go up by $2,000 a year.

The new starting salary for Lee County teachers will begin at $50,000. The pay is still lower than the surrounding counties. However, the teachers union calls it a start.

Teachers who started this year will first see the pay increase on Dec. 15.

Experienced teachers with 20 or more years of classroom experience could receive a raise as much as $10,000, retroactively until July 1.

Performance-based bonuses can be added to the raises. A $677 raise can be awarded for highly effective reviews and $500 for effective reviews.

Lee County teachers are struggling with their wallets, and some have gotten to the breaking point, so this raise is expected to give them a little breathing room.

“We need to be able to live,” said Amanda Blacketer Colucci, a Lee County teacher. “We have to cut corners. We budget very tightly, and we have to make sure– like we don’t eat out. We meal prep, do everything we can just to save some money so that I don’t have to get a second job. But it’s difficult without one. It’s very difficult.”

The Lee County School District intends to increase salary to help incentivize people to move into the district while keeping the existing teaching staff. Whether that will happen remains to be seen.

The next bargaining session will begin in February.

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