Pinellas students protest cuts to magnet teacher pay
[Joseph Garnett | Times]
More than two dozen Pinellas high school students -- with more on the way -- are rallying at school district headquarters right now to protest deep cuts in their teachers’ pay. At issue is last week’s decision by the district to cut the academic coaching salary supplements -- equal to 14 percent of a teacher’s base pay -- that have been given for years to 100 to 120 teachers in four marquee magnet programs.
“A lot of teachers are thinking about retiring early. It hurts,” Fedner Lauture, 17, a junior in the International Baccalaureate program at St. Petersburg High, told the Gradebook. “Being an academic coach isn’t a trifling thing. They help us a lot.”
The supplements are given to teachers in the IB programs at St. Petersburg High and Palm Harbor University High; the Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High; and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High. They sacrifice their planning periods as part of the deal.
Some of the protesting students acknowledged that the supplements had caused a rift between magnet and traditional teachers. After news of the cuts broke last week, "Some traditional teachers were high-fiving," Lauture said. "That's what I heard. That shocked me."
But, he continued, referring to IB teachers, "They're doing more. They have to do more. I know they work harder."
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