Teaching is a hard profession but a very rewarding profession. I have enjoyed every minute of my 32 years of teaching in Manatee County.
Every teacher knows that when they enter the profession, the hours will be long and the pay low but the intrinsic rewards of knowing that you influenced the lives of young people pays dividends every day.
But here’s the rub! School boards and their bean counters rely on that love to cheat educators out of a decent livelihood; because after all who needs money when you have the love and admiration of your students.
Year after year after year, teachers are forced to look themselves in the mirror and wrestle with their love of education weighed against a declining standard of living while staring at the pile of bills on the table. Yet again, many Manatee County teachers will be asked to sacrifice their families for their profession.
The tentative contract submitted to the teachers for ratification includes some very modest raises — approximately $900 annually.
However, it also includes increases in health insurance payments that can only be called draconian. What is more troubling is that the school district, with the approval of the teachers union, want to pass all of the increase onto only those teachers with spouses, leaving untouched those groups without spousal coverage.
The net result is that teachers with spouses are being asked to pay premium hikes as high as 68 percent. Considering national health care costs are projected to rise about 4 percent this year, this seems horribly out of line.
This is a real burden on families already struggling after years of relatively stagnant wages. For me the numbers are simple a $900 raise; a $3,400 increase in premiums; $2,500 poorer.
To my colleagues, please vote NO on the contract; you’re worth more!