TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – Frustration continues to mount among teachers in Hillsborough County as their union prepares again to negotiate with the district on Monday over promised raises the district says it can no longer afford.
"It's been a little bit hard for people to accept because of the spending patterns that we've watched for the last couple of years,” said Jean Clements, president of the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association. “I think our teachers and our staff feel like that if the district was hurting that bad financially, they should have been making some different decisions over the past couple of years."
In 2013, the district agreed to give qualified teachers $4,000 raises after three years. However, budget woes have led district leaders to reject bargaining agreements that include the increase.
Clements said the district’s response has been frustrating, and has left many teachers feeling despondent. To show their dissatisfaction, teachers “worked to contract” last week, meaning they did no more than what their contract specified.
District leaders will meet with HCTA union representatives on Monday at 3 p.m. Clements says she’s hoping for progress, despite a negotiation process that has lasted for about half-a-year.