After historic rejection of their last contract, Orange County teachers head back to the bargaining table


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Orange County teachers are returning to negotiations Wednesday morning with representatives from Orange County Public Schools, after voting down their last proposed contract.

That historic vote, on June 29, was the first-ever contract rejected by Orange County teachers, who defeated it by a 4 to 1 margin. Wednesday's bargaining session will again address working conditions and teacher pay.

A press announcement sent by Central Florida Jobs With Justice says the current proposal offered by OCPS has been criticized by teachers as being "akin to a pay-day loan, a two-year deal where teachers are only offered a base salary increase in the first year."

The CFJWJ notice also claims the school district has so far refused to affirm the right of teachers to have bathroom breaks, despite teachers saying that they are not allowed.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pledged to increase starting teacher salaries, but he has not indicated how he will pay for the plan. Teachers are facing increasing housing and other costs, while wages in public schools have mostly stagnated. Following the June contract rejection by Orange teachers, Brevard County teachers also rejected their proposed contract.

The bargaining session Wednesday, which is open to the public, will be live-streamed from the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association building on Webster St., starting at 9:30 a.m., "with lively props," promises CFJWJ.

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