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Volusia County Teachers Make Demands as Contract Negotiations Drag On

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Teachers in Volusia County are threatening to spend less time in their classrooms. That’s if the school board and the Volusia Teachers Organization, which represents 3,200 teachers, fail to agree on a new contract.

Both groups will try to hash out a pay raise and new training schedule tonight at DeLand High School.

Andrew Spar, president of Volusia Teachers Organization, says they have been negotiating a contract since last May.

“We want our wages to catch up to the other districts in Central Florida. We also want to make sure that teachers have protected time to plan and prepare lessons, and we also want respect, quite honestly,” he says.

The Volusia Teachers Organization says its members are prepared to stop spending time with students after school. Spar admits this might hurt students temporarily, but believes it will help teachers in the long-run by sending a message to the school board.

“What’s more important? Teaching kids or doing busy work that districts require us to do? That we talk to parents or sit in professional development meetings; that we plan lessons or that we’re in meeting after meeting after meeting?" Spar asks.

A state grant funded a 5-percent pay raise for last year, and the school board has offered a one-time one-percent bonus for this year.

The Volusia County school district says it’s unusual for contract negotiations to drag into the school year.