Teachers in Broward and Palm Beach County were devastated when they learned the Florida Supreme Court upheld the pension bill requiring all public employees to contribute 3 percent of their salaries to a pension fund.
“We’re at a loss,” said Suzi Grbinich, a math teacher at Boca Raton Community High School. “So many people’s lives have been turned upside down because of this.”
She said teachers were already talking about where they could pick up extra money on the weekends, like offering tutoring services or driving buses. “We have absolutely no breathing room.”
The Supreme Court ruled 4-3, prompting relief in Tallahassee but delivering a huge blow to teachers.
Donna Shubert, a teacher at McNab Elementary School in Pompano Beach, has been teaching for 20 years and said saving is nearly impossible especially as she looks to retire soon.
“We work so hard for so little,” she said. “Our salaries are so low and so stagnant for so long … I don’t know how people are going to survive.”
Disheartened union members vowed to mobilize and vote out the legislators that allowed the pension to pass.
“We’ve got to fight back,” said Debra Wilhelm, president of the Classroom Teachers Association in Palm Beach County. “It just seems like it’s one thing after another, how much can you take?”
"It’s a bait and switch and it’s on the backs of our public employees," said Sharon Glickman, president of the Broward Teachers Union.
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