Protest for better teacher pay turns Viera red


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Protesters marched from The Avenue Viera to the Brevard School Board with megaphones and picket signs to fight for better pay for teachers.

AUSTIN RUSHNELL

Today’s students have more access to education than ever, thanks to hardworking teachers who help build strong communities and shape young minds for leading the future.

It’s an unfortunate fact, however, that many teachers feel that their pay does not adequately compensate them for their jobs.

Earlier this month, two students from McNair Middle School, Hayden Mucha, 13, and Addison Thurn, 12, decided to organize a protest against the school board in response to a recent decision by Superintendent Mark Mullins.

Mullins rejected a plan proposed to the school board that would raise teacher pay in Brevard County, in direct opposition to the Brevard Federation of Teachers, led by President Anthony Colucci.

After the initial rejection in May, Colucci issued a warning in a local report.

“We will have our teachers out in full force in their red shirts, and we will deliver our argument again.”

The efforts of Hayden and Addison helped to organize just such a reaction. On June 14, teachers, students and parents were out in their full display of red shirts and picketing signs to demand higher wages.

“I’ve been teaching for 24 years, and there’s been a transition of policies here at the district that I have now taken opposition to,” said Melbourne teacher Chris Carl. “We have seen the teachers support the district when they said, ‘we need you to freeze your pay so we can save jobs,’ back in 2006.

“I’m stuck at 14 years as my base pay,” Carl continued. “I’m at 24 (years), I’ve got a master’s degree, I’m a senior fellow at (a foundation) and I’m also a certified CET teacher. So, I’ve done my part. Yet, here I am stuck at 14 years at my base pay.”

The Brevard School Board, located at 2700 Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera, usually is not open on Friday when the protest was held. It was unavailable for comment. The Board will issue a statement about the protest in the future.