This year should kick off with not just optimism here locally, but at the state level as well, for educators. It is an election year and there are plenty of opportunities all around the state to shift the political dynamic in Tallahassee in November, in both the Governor’s Mansion and the Florida Senate. It cannot be understated how important November’s elections are to public education. Please make sure you are registered to vote and actually get out and vote on Election Day (both in August and November).
Additionally, locally we have a massive opportunity to provide sweeping improvements to our school system in the form of a property tax referendum that will appear on the November ballot. More details will be revealed as the school year kicks off, but the consequences of this referendum would change the lives of every student and educator in the Palm Beach County School District. Included in this referendum are funds to provide for increased security and mental health services for our students and staff, continued funding for 600+ existing teaching positions in PE/Arts/Academy programming, as well as providing life changing salary retention supplements for members in our bargaining unit.
We have a lot to look forward to, as well as a lot to reflect on from the last school year as we move forward. We have a new superintendent, one that is more focused on ensuring that district decision-making is balanced properly with school-site autonomy for both administrators and educators. We have a completely revamped evaluation system that is engineered to be more fair and equitable for those being observed. The end result of which will be a dramatic increase in objective and improved evaluation results for thousands of teachers. We have fought to defend your classroom instructional time, as well as your individual planning time from red tape and intrusions that seek to complicate your job and diminish the quality of education you provide your students. Lastly, we have demanded that educator compensation be placed at the forefront of decision-making at the district. The change to true percent raises last year and moving forward, combined with the potential salary retention supplements to be voted on in November will change the lives for many educators in the Palm Beach County School District and elevate their socioeconomic status to where it should be; commensurate to our level of professionalism and the quality of service we provide.
There is a lot more to look forward to this year including: improved service and engagement from CTA staff, increased professional development opportunities, member benefits and discounts at local businesses, and consistent communication to ensure all members are as knowledgeable as possible about how they can help our efforts to continue improving both our Union and our profession, here in Palm Beach County.
I wish everyone the best of luck with the upcoming school year and pledge to do everything in my power as your CTA President to demonstrate the true value and influence of organized labor.