Watch CBS News

Miami-Dade Schools Celebrate First-Ever A-Rating By Asking For Teacher Pay Raises

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With lots of cheering and applause Miami-Dade schools celebrated their first ever district "A" grade, and second straight year with no "F" schools by calling for a pay raise for teachers, those at the front of the class.

"Now is the time for us as a community to compensate them adequately in recognition of their efforts," said Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to a raucous, packed house at the school board auditorium.

Miami-Dade's 20,000 teachers work in a county with the state's highest cost of living.

"We have people working two and three jobs during the school year. That's not necessarily a good thing, but it's a must thing. They must to do it in order to survive," said Antonio White of United Teachers of Dade.

The school board will ask voters in November to approve a tax increase that would increase teachers' pay - teachers who often reach into their own, not-so-deep pockets, to help their students succeed.

"Classroom supplies, trips, whatever they need; clothes. Whatever they need," said teacher Karen Gant.

According to the school system, 91% of Miami-Dade housing is unaffordable to the average schoolteacher.

"They are finding out they are priced out in the city of Miami with the real estate as high as it is," White said. "People can't afford where they work."

Here is the plan, in the wake of all the teaching success taxpayers will be asked to foot the bill for a salary increase for educators.

If all goes to plan, it will be on the ballot come November.

"A tax payer whose house is worth $200,000, if we pass a quarter million, that would mean their taxes would be about $89 a year," said school board member Marta Perez.

Molly Diallo is the county's Teacher of The Year, but that honor doesn't pay for the groceries.

"It can be difficult month to month, especially because of the cost of living in Miami, for all of the teachers in Miami-Dade County," Diallo said.

Parents CBS4 News spoke with seemed open to investing more in those who teach their kids.

"I'd be happy to pay a little bit more for the teachers to make a little bit more and improve education here," said parent Patrick Luthy.

"I think it's OK. I think it's right. My sister is a teacher, and I think it's right. I am willing to do that," said another parent, Maggie Freeman.

Back at the school board auditorium, Board Member Mari Tere Rojas led the crowd of schoolteachers, staff and students in pep rally fashion.

"Congratulations to everybody here! Let's hear it!" Rojas shouted as the standing room only crowd cheered and applauded.

The school board is confident voters will be willing to pay for performance, to keep those "A" grades coming.

A binding referendum on the November ballot will ask voters to approve a yet to be determined increase in property taxes for schoolteacher salaries.

These are the figures released by the Florida Department of Education. It shows how M-DCPS outperformed schools statewide in the percentage receiving "A" ratings:

• 49 percent of M-DCPS elementary schools, compared to 28 percent statewide.
• 40 percent of M-DCPS middle schools, compared to 33 percent statewide.
• 37 percent of M-DCPS senior high schools, compared to 32 percent statewide.
• 56 percent of M-DCPS combination grade schools, compared to 45 percent statewide.

The Florida Department of Education calculates school grades based on up to 11 components. The components include student achievement, learning gains, standardized assessments and high school graduation rate.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.