PHS News

Taking a Stand

Teachers protest against School Board's failure to deliver

Chad Mendez

Taking a stand in favor of teacher benefits, a group of protestors hold up a sign in support of educators.

Taking a stand in favor of teacher benefits, a group of protestors hold up a sign in support of educators.

Alea Jennings

Alea Jennings

Taking a stand in favor of teacher benefits, a group of protestors hold up a sign in support of educators.

Isabella Ank and Graham Hill

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“A deal is a deal!” 

Chants and posters filled the street as teachers gathered on Nov. 14 to protest the salary crisis which has struck Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS). 

The protest took place outside of 901 E Kennedy Blvd. where a meeting among school board officials took place. Those in attendance included both current and former teachers, some of which who are involved with the Classroom Teachers Association (CTA). 

“We believe that the money is being misspent, it’s been misallocated, mismanaged,” CTA member Lindsey Blankenbaker said.  

Four years ago, a pay roll plan was adopted in which teachers would receive a $4000 raise after three years instead of small raises every year. When the time came to pay the bonus, however, the School Board of HCPS claimed that there was no money to give. 

“…unfortunately everyone’s feeling like this is a disrespect to the schoolteachers by not honoring what [HCPS school board] said they would and their promise,” Davis Elementary teacher Lance Otto said.  

Many teachers work more than just eight hours a day, preparing their classes on their own time to run the course smoothly and efficiently.  

“We grade papers, we have parent conferences, we go to extracurricular activities after school…we go out and purchase things for our classroom,” Hunter’s Green Elementary teacher Kim Jamieson said. “So there’s many…hours that we put into our day besides just the eight hours.” 

Parents of students have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the School Board’s actions, or lack thereof.  

“I just think teachers have the most important job in the world,” parent Leslie Farrell said. “It’s infuriating that they’re not getting support.” 

Besides the protest, teachers are also planning another way for the School Board to hear their voice. Following Thanksgiving Break, they will be “working the contract”. This means participating teachers will arrive at school exactly when it begins, leave exactly when it ends, and will not work on their own time. 

“…we would like [the School Board] to reconsider their priorities and put employees first,” CTA executive director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins said. “We hope that they will come back to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith.” 

Overall, teachers are hoping that the School Board will recognize the need to address these issues to ensure a brighter future.  

“It feels like finally people are getting together and standing up and not letting them step on us,” Spanish teacher Yohanis Carrera said.  

All photos by Alea Jennings
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Taking a Stand