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Parents supporting teachers in Martin County

These parents say “IT’S TIME” for teachers to be paid for all the work they do to help the children in our community. They say teachers are leaving Martin County to go to surrounding counties for a higher salary. (WPEC)

It all started with a Facebook group, Martin County Parents United.

This group's main focus is to help teachers in Martin County get the pay they deserve.

"I was so nervous about naming it. It took me the longest time to find a picture that could equate to what I wanted to come across," founder Danielle McDonough said.

She started the Facebook group in April and quickly got feedback from other parents in the community.

"What can we do? How do we do this? They deserve a raise! And then the stories started," McDonough said. Stories from parents of how teachers went out of their way for the children and heartwrenching stories from teachers.

McDonough said she started the group after hearing about the harsh reality these teachers have to live.

"We have some amazing teachers here that just want to be paid properly so they can live here," she said.

Right now in Martin County, the school district says the average teacher makes $44,417.

According to the parents in this group, those teachers make much lower than that. One study, Glassdoor, states Martin County teacher's make an average of $39,000 annually.

"You can go to another district and make $10,000 more," McDonough said. "These teachers can be here for 20 years and not make over $45-$46,000.

She said some teachers are leaving to get higher pay and the school district can't fill the spots with full time teachers.

All this information shocked other parents who joined the group.

"It breaks my heart to think that she needs a second or third job or that she can’t make ends meet with what she’s being paid with all the effort she puts in," said Joan Raines, referring to one of her children's teachers.

She has three children in the Martin County School System.

"We’re not gonna stop and we’re not gonna give up until the teachers get what they deserve," Raines said.

Raines is one of thousands on the Facebook group who feel this way.

One mother, Sarah Colon, questioned, "If they’re going to every single day put my child first, why can I not do the same for them?"

When she found out how much Martin County teachers were being paid, she said, "I don’t know anyone that could survive on that paycheck and still, they get up every single day and they go to school and they teach our kids and we need to support them. We need to be their voice."

The teachers can't speak, but these parents can, as well as the teacher's family.

CBS12 talked with Kelly Lindsey, the wife of a Martin County teacher.

"Without my insurance and salary we could not survive as well as we do," she said, adding that it costs $900 a month to put someone on the family plan in Martin County.

Lindsey said it's not only important for parents to get involved. She said everyone should care about this because if school ratings go down, real estate values go down.

Now these parents are asking for a tax increase to pay for these teachers.

"It doesn't hurt to ask and bring a few friends along to see what we can accomplish," McDonough said.

McDonough said doing this was a no brainer.

"We have to do this," she said. "It’s not a matter of let’s try to do this, it’s a matter of we have to. The order of importance should always be our children and our teachers because without our teachers we don’t have competent children."

The Martin County School Board Chairman said there are a lot of funding issues they have to figure out. The board will be voting on a tax increase in the fall, but that doesn't necessarily mean more money for teachers.

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