Students Think Teachers Deserve Raise


Yolanda Rivera points to her Smart Board during class last week.

Jasmine Boyens, Editor in Chief

The average annual salary for teachers here was $48,609 last year, and students say teachers here deserve a raise. Principal Jennifer Bellinger thinks so, too. In February, Bellinger announced teacher bonuses of $1,500 for all teachers who finish out this year at Oak Ridge and another $1,500 for teachers who return for the first day of the 2018-2019 school year.

Bellinger said the funds are part of a grant the school received.

Teachers in the Orange County Public Schools system also receive raises most years through contract negotiations. However, the raises tend to be small and sometimes do not match or exceed inflation. Teachers make more or less based on how long they have taught and what degrees they have earned. This leads to variance in the actual pay of individual teachers. At Oak Ridge, many teachers are new to the profession or have been teaching for fewer than five years.

“Doctors save lives but if it wasn’t for teachers how many kids would be left with a lack of intelligence?” Junior Kiara Peralta asked. Peralta added that teachers should definitely get paid more ”because they are responsible for many aspects of a student’s school life.”

Senior Andrew Armstrong said teachers “create the future society in the world” and feels their salary should reflect their crucial role. Armstrong said a teacher’s pay shouldn’t strictly be based on student performance. He believes teachers can be rewarded for their effectiveness through incentives or benefits

“Some teachers deserve [a higher salary], some teachers don’t,” said junior Nicole Familia who believes teacher pay should be more dependent on the quality of each individual teacher.  

According to the Florida Department of Education, the average annual salary of a Florida certified teacher in 2016 was $45,723. The average salary for high school teachers across the nation was about $58,000 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Aside from classroom teachers, guidance counselors and deans here made about $51,000 last year while assistant principals made about $76,400 and the principal made $103,174, according to the school’s budget.

By offering the bonuses, Bellinger may succeed in keeping more teachers at the school. Teacher turnover is a problem across the nation as teachers move from one school to another or leave the profession entirely. However, Richard Ingersoll, who studies teacher retention and turnover at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a 2015 National Public Radio interview that most teachers leave the profession for reasons other than salary. Some reports indicate that as many as 50 of new teachers will leave the profession within five years.