FL School Support Staff Asks For $18 Per Hour As Some Say They Can't Pay Bills: "Have Nothing Left"

L. Cane

According to Education Week reporting in the fall of 2022, a Public Attitudes Toward Public Schools poll indicated that over 60% of parent respondents didn't want their children to become teachers.

Low pay may arguably account for some of that skepticism, since Education Week also found that, in general, teachers make 23.5% less than comparable college graduates.

The statistics may be a bit worse for Florida's teachers, who reportedly earn an average of $51,230, which is ranked 48th in the country.

That said, Florida's teachers aren't the only professionals with whom students come into contact every day. They are also served by Florida's school's support staff.

And now support staff in one Florida district wants more pay - at $18 per hour, since some say that current salaries aren't enough to pay the bills.

In 2022, many Florida school districts raised the minimum wage for support staff in Florida's schools to $15 per hour.

However, support staff in Pinellas County is currently bargaining with the school district through The Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association (PESPA) for a raise of $18 or a 7.3% pay increase, whichever is more.

Katherine Quick told ABC Action News in September of 2023 that she has to have two jobs to make ends meet, despite her support staff job with Pinellas County schools, explaining, in part:

"My mortgage is over $2,000 a month, and I pay $500, and my husband pays the rest, then we have our water, we have our electric. I'm paying off my car. I pay my car insurance. It's all gone. I have nothing left."

Lydia Guevara, who supports middle school students with autism echoed Quick's sentiments, saying that the $1,400 per month she brings home isn't enough to cover her bills.

The union and the school board are meeting again in late September.

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