Arbitrator to review Lee County Teachers Union case against school district

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A special fund that pays teachers for extra work and covering classrooms has been gone for over a year, forcing the Lee County Teachers Union to file a complaint.

An arbitrator is set to review and possibly decide on the August 2023 teachers union complaint.

A letter was sent to Lee County teachers explaining that the money in the ESSER funds had been spent; however, the letter does not explain where and why the money had gone.

Nearly $8.2 million had been set aside to pay teachers for extra work done, which includes covering vacant classrooms and their own classrooms at the same time.

The school district has been short-staffed by around 178 teachers since last year, with many being asked to cover for an additional class.

Kerr Fazzone, the Director of the Lee County Teachers Union, spoke with WINK News, telling us that new teachers should not be forced into this scenario.

“They are doing one of the greatest public services, you know, for our children and our society. They are overworked, drastically underpaid, and we’re asking them to do even more with with the same and it’s just an injustice in my mind,” said Fazzone.

Union representatives told WINK that the district defense for the depleted funds was to cover the cost of teachers covering multiple classrooms.

WINK News reached out to a spokesperson for the Lee County School District for comment; however, they declined to speak on this subject.

The arbitration is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

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