Are Florida teachers channeling Wall Street arrogance? Unlike others who've been hit by the recessionary storm, teachers in the sprawling Miami-Dade district apparently believe themselves immune from the effects of economic decline. Maintaining current salary levels--or even their jobs--isn't enough; they're demanding their contractually negotiated pay increases, never mind that the district is facing a massive budget deficit and lacks the necessary $48 million dollars. The promised raises date back to 2006, when, of course, the district presumed it would be able to afford them. Alas, no more. Thankfully, saner heads--like that of school board member Agustin Barrera--might prevail. His opposition is simple: "I don't think we should be putting employees on the street to give additional benefits to other employees." These teachers should take a page from their Montgomery County, Maryland brethren, who have agreed to give up a 5 percent pay increase. Let's hope the Miami-Dade board, which will vote on the issue next week, agrees.

"Magistrate backs Miami-Dade decision to deny teacher raises," by Kathleen McGrory, Miami Herald, January 30, 2009

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