Leon County School Board Approves Pay Raise

The Leon County School Board has approved a pay raise for all employees. It's the first pay raise in years.

In reaction to getting a raise, Teresa Gunter-Jackson, says she's "excited."

The Leon County School Board has approved a two percent pay raise for all employees Tuesday night.

Gunter-Jackson has been a teacher for 13 years in Leon County. She's taught middle and high school at the Success Academy at Ghazvini Learning Center for the past two years.

She says, "Whenever you give an increase on salary, you're definitely going to get a smile on my face. Even though it's a two percent, it's still an increase and I'll definitely see the difference in my paycheck. So, I'm very appreciative of the two percent raise."

The teachers' union president, David Worrell, says the raise will not offset the three percent that employees now have to pay toward their retirement.

He says, "We're still a little behind. But, we appreciate the district and the school board for working with us to grant us a raise."

Worrell says the only raise they've gotten over the past six years was a 1.3 percent increase two years ago.

School Superintendent Jackie Pons says the district lost $111 million in revenue since 2007.

Pons says, "We didn't want to eliminate jobs in order to give pay increases. So, we made some tough decisions, but we all worked on it together, and we've gotten through this. We just appreciate what our employees have done for our school system."

Superintendent Pons says the pay raise will be retroacted to the beginning of the school year. He says employees should start seeing their new pay in April.

The new pay raise is for all Leon County School District employees -- teachers, bus drivers, and support staff.

Pons says the school board was able to put money away over the past two and a half years in order to give this current two percent raise.

Gunter-Jackson says, "Once the school board made the decision to say, hey, we're going to give them a raise, it makes us feel appreciated, that we are doing, what we're doing is worth something. Someone is actually acknowledging it. So, it makes you feel good."

This pay raise will be on top of any raise from the State. Superintendent Pons applauds Governor Rick Scott's recommendation of a $2,500 raise for all Florida teachers. But, Pons says they'll have to wait to see what happens, because he says what's recommended is not always what's approved by the legislature.

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