So. Fla. teachers prepare to vote for new administration
MIAMI (WSVN) -- Many South Florida teachers said they're getting a lesson in frustration when it comes to everything from their health benefits to their salaries. Tuesday, they're voting for a change.
Teacher and single parent Larcenia Dixon had to make a difficult decision. She faces a $250 increase in monthly health insurance cost. "I never expected at this point in life," said Dixon, "to give up health insurance in order to buy groceries and feed my family."
It's a decision many teachers said many colleagues have faced. Some of them are now supporting so-called outsiders for elected positions for the United Teacher's of Dade, the union representing Dade County Public School teachers. "They've had eight years," said Ceresta Smith, "to try and produce for the teachers and support staff from this district and for eight years they have failed us."
Critical of candidates who currently hold high level positions with the union, Ceresta Smith said the insider candidates have done little to help teachers and support staff. "We need to see take-home pay increases," said Smith, "we also need to see a reduction in healthcare cost."
Insiders said it's easier said than done, noting that outsiders factors affect take-home pay. "The raise in taxes has nothing to do with this union," said Insider VP Candidate, Sandy Simon. "It's got to do with the federal government."
Simon added that healthcare costs are high because the district is self-ensured. "Everybody screams, 'We wanna have a choice, we wanna have a choice,' the district's not gonna give us a choice."
The Tuesday election has polarized public school teachers. The only certainty is that there will be a new administration. The current president officially steps down later this year.
"It's about unity," said Insider Presidential Candidate, Fedrick Ingram, "and it's about a spirit of moving forward together. So I'm hoping that everyone, inside and outside can move together."
A new administration will be voted in Tuesday. Candidates will need to receive more than 50 percent of the votes. If that doesn't happen, a run off is scheduled for March.
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