Special magistrate rules in favor of teachers union in St. Johns County pay dispute

The school district in St. Johns County faced a pay dispute with teachers who demanded a raise, arguing that their annual income was not comparable to that of teachers in nearby areas with a high cost of living. After negotiations stalled, an outside mediator was brought in, who recommended the pay raises proposed by the district’s teachers union, citing their excellent learning results and earning the pay increases they sought. Under the proposal, the starting teacher salary would increase, and teachers rated effective and highly effective for the year would get a raise. The special magistrate noted that Florida is ranked low in per-student spending for grade schools and that the district would use the unrestricted fund balance to pay for the raises, which would not significantly affect the district’s financial condition. Any pay raise would have to be approved by the school board before taking effect.

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