Collier County Education Association continues bargaining for increased wages

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez
Published: Updated:

For years, teachers have been talking about how much it costs to live in Collier County, saying it doesn’t match what they’re getting paid, and that they believe they deserve more.

“Based on what the district presented us with, I want to say that they presented us with a proposal that I would say that is very anemic, and we want to counter,” said Ken Mouton.

Mouton is president of the Collier County Education Association. He said their base salary is only $54,000, and that’s not enough.

“This is one of the most expensive counties to live in. Right now, our district presented us with $1,700. And that’s just not good. It’s not good for teaching. It’s not good for education. It’s not good for the kids. It’s just not good,” Mouton added. “If we’re going to try to bring teachers into our county, we need to make it attractive, and $54,000 is not good.”

Pam Baldwin is the first vice president of CCEA and said if the salary issue doesn’t get resolved, the teacher shortage will continue.

“When you look at some of the teachers that are walking away from this profession, they will tell you it’s not what they want to do. They don’t want to go somewhere else to work, but they have to be able to make a living. They have to be able to pay their bills,” Baldwin explained.

Baldwin continued, “Teachers put their all into this job, and they really need to be compensated for what they do. They put kids first, and everything they do, and it’s time for people to start recognizing what they do and give them a livable wage so they can afford to live in this county.”

The third bargaining session is this Wednesday at 3:30 at the Collier County Education Association building. Anyone from the community, including students, parents, teachers, and members of the school board, is welcome to attend.

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