Florida Keys

Florida Keys teachers plan ‘walk-in’ before school Wednesday

Teachers and their supporters stand outside of Plantation Key School in the Florida Keys Monday, March 4, 2018, to protest plans to increase public funding of private and charter schools. A similar protest is planned for Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
Teachers and their supporters stand outside of Plantation Key School in the Florida Keys Monday, March 4, 2018, to protest plans to increase public funding of private and charter schools. A similar protest is planned for Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

Teachers in the Florida Keys are expected to demonstrate in front of schools Wednesday morning before class starts to protest what they consider inadequate state funding for public education.

The protest is being called a “walk-in.” The teachers and their supporters will “picket, pray or simply share coffee and doughnuts, then the employees will walk in to school together,” Holly Hummell-Gorman, president of United Teachers of Monroe, the teachers’ union, said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

The protests are expected to last from 30 to 45 minutes, she said.

“We are taking a positive approach to calling attention to a very serious issue,” Hummell-Gorman said. “State lawmakers have starved our public schools of desperately needed funds for more than a decade, and children are paying the price.”

According to Hummell-Gorman, similar protests are expected in front of public schools statewide.

“Florida ranks among the bottom 10 states nationally in funding for our students, and education spending remains below pre-recession levels. The average teacher salary in Florida has dropped to 46th in the nation, while many school staff earn a wage that is below the federal poverty line,” Gorman said in the statement.

The protest follows a similar demonstration Keys teachers held in March, on the eve of the opening of the state legislative session, to protest spending public school money on public charter schools, which are taxpayer-funded but run by private entities.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announces a plan to create "equal opportunity scholarships" to relieve the wait list for student tax credit scholarships at a press conference near Tamiami on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

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