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Broward Teachers Protest On Street Corners Ahead Of Hearing Over Salary Increases

Jessica Bakeman
Public school teachers protested on street corners all over Broward County on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 26.

A small group of teachers wearing matching red T-shirts with the words “Strong Public Schools” gathered on the street corner outside the Northwest Regional Library in Coral Springs on Wednesday afternoon, ringing cowbells and asking drivers to honk in support.

There were more than a dozen similar scenes throughout Broward County, as public school teachers worked to pressure district officials over salary negotiations.

“Everything we do in our schools — when we come in early, when we stay extra, when we take into our own pockets for your students — it’s the moral responsibility of the district to make sure that teachers and every other employee is compensated,” Broward Teachers Union president Anna Fusco said. “And they’re not doing it.”

The union has asked for up to a 5% salary increase for teachers, on top of the 7% average supplement they received after a successful 2018 ballot referendum to boost pay. The district offered a 1.5% bump. The two sides are now at an impasse.

Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said the state Legislature has not properly funded public education in Florida, making it difficult to pay teachers more. Florida's per-pupil funding is significantly lower than the national average.

"We’re going to do our very best to find every penny that we can to be able to support our teachers," Runcie said.

A school board hearing on the negotiation is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 10, at Plantation High School, 6901 NW 16th St., Plantation.

UPDATED: This story was updated to include a response from Superintendent Robert Runcie.

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Jessica Bakeman is Director of Enterprise Journalism at WLRN News, and she is the former senior news editor and education reporter. Her 2021 project "Class of COVID-19" won a national Edward R. Murrow Award.
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