On February 6th, Joe Burgess, principal of Chiles High School and candidate for Leon County School Superintendent released a statement in support of teacher pay raises, stating, “It’s time to pay teachers a livable wage.”
This announcement was released as negotiations between the Leon Classroom Teacher Association (LCTA) and the Leon County School District remain ongoing. The bargaining began in April of 2023, with the LCTA Association proposing $6.7 million for salary raises and the District offering them $4 million.
Burgess’ announcement stated, “Our educators are the backbone of the Leon County School District, and they give back each and every day they are in the classroom shaping the minds of tomorrow. It is time we make teachers a priority.”
On January 23rd, several teachers gathered at a Leon County School Board meeting to express their frustration over the current pay structure, demanding fair compensation. Many veteran teachers claimed they were not being valued by the School Board and by Superintendent Rocky Hanna.
Burgess continued, “For many teachers, they simply cannot afford to remain in the profession. I have heard from those who are working multiple jobs and those struggling to make ends meet with their current salaries. If our administration leadership is accepting a nearly 7% pay raise, it is only right that we deliver the same to our teachers. Also, we are not rewarding our veteran teachers, and by consequence we are quickly losing their talent, wealth of knowledge, and invaluable experience in the classroom.”
Lastly, he said, “To Leon County educators– I am standing in your corner. When we invest in keeping talented teachers in the classroom, we are investing in our students and families.”