On the foolish advice of anti-teacher Tallahassee lawyers, the School District essentially declared impasse against its teachers and unionized staff in 2016 by offering a zero percent raise. It formalized impasse a few months after my election and sought to unilaterally impose a multiple harmful provisions on our staff. I fought the entire School Board and district staff leadership to change this position and provide modest, fiscally responsible raises. It was me against the entire administration building. And I succeeded nonetheless.
Working collaboratively with our teachers and staff, I convinced management through that we could lower the fund balance to four percent and force a negotiated settlement in which no one had to win or lose. Today, the union-busting Tallahassee lawyers who helped poison negotiations are gone. And management and labor last year had the most productive negotiation process anyone can remember. Labor relations will always be a challenge while state government starves funding. But I think we are on the cusp of a new, collaborative era with employees and management. I promise you that it’s my priority to continue delivering it. During the campaign, people often asked me how I would build consensus as one board member with a reputation for confrontation. This is how. With confrontation. With patient, relentless arguments that I’m on the right side of. Backed by mobilized stakeholders and a mobilized public.