This is my 23rd year being a teacher in the School District of Manatee County and I currently have three children in the public schools of Manatee County. I find it very deflating and humiliating that the Republican Party of Manatee County Executive Committee voted 45-2 to vote against a special referendum for our School District of Manatee County students. These committee members are unwilling to spend an extra $16.67 per month on average to raise $33 million and allow teachers to get a raise of $6,000.
We have a growing teacher shortage epidemic that is affecting our most important commodity, our children. My biggest concern is for my 4-year-old daughter. Will quality teachers be around as she progresses through school? I have witnessed a mass exit of our best and brightest teachers so they can pursue careers with greater financial security and less stressful conditions. I have also witnessed a constant lack of substitute teachers able to fill in when a teacher is absent. This is due to the abhorrent pay we currently provide substitutes. When this situation occurs it causes teachers to miss planning time or they have to teach extra students who are not normally in their class.
My children have been raised in the school district and I would say there education meets or exceeds that of any private school. My son recently scored a 1510 on the SAT which places him in the top 1 percent in the United States. He has attended Miller Elementary and the State College of Florida Collegiate School. I feel those teachers who have taught him deserve a raise and the special referendum, if passed, would help them attain that raise. A “yes” vote will give our teachers a lift that is urgently needed.