Franklin County, FL - Franklin County Schools are in more than half a million dollars worth of debt, and now they're asking teachers to sacrifice their paychecks to pay it back.
No one in Franklin County wants the school system to be in debt, especially the teachers, but they say the request of a 19.5 % pay cut to get back into the positive is just too much to ask.
It was standing room only at the Franklin County School Board Meeting Thursday night.
The schools are in serious debt, and they need to come up with $537,000 just to get back to zero.
Nina Marks, Franklin County Schools Superintendent, stated, "the timeline is that the budget has to be balanced June 30th, so up until midnight we will work on it if we don't reach it before then."
How did it get to this point?
The school board says declining property values and declining enrollment put them in the red.
Now they've proposed a 19.5 % pay cut to their teachers to try and make the money back.
Katherine Wood, Franklin County Teachers Association, says, "it would cost me 10,000 dollars a year on my income and we have support staff that don't even make 25,000 a year and have worked in the system for over 25 years. You take 20 percent of their income, and that becomes below poverty level."
Wearing signs with sayings like "I'm a teacher" or "I'm a student," the community made their support of the educators clear.
School administrators and the board have already taken a 5% cut, and would take an additional 14.5% cut if the teachers agreed.
Superintendent Marks says that they have enough money for staff to receive checks through the end of May.
If the two sides don't come to an agreement they would have to sit down with a special magistrate to work everything out.