PBC teachers give Art Johnson a piece of their mind

By John Bachman - bio | email

(WFLX) - We knew teachers were unhappy with their boss, Art Johnson. Now, we have a much better idea of just how many and just how mad they really are. Now, it's up the school board to figure out what to do about it.

"I feel like, I pay you to work for you," said one teacher.

Many of the statements, pointed both at Johnson and school board members, came after Classroom Teachers Association President Robert Dow announced the results of a district wide confidence vote on Johnson's job performance.

Dow says 95 percent of the teachers who voted say they do not have confidence in Johnson as their leader, and more than 10,000 teachers voted. "We're actually sending a strong message to the school board members because they get to pick and choose the superintendent," said another teacher.

Before the meeting, teachers and parents, dressed in red, protested outside calling for Johnson's job.

Dow says the frustration has been building for at least the last three years. Each year, Palm Beach County teachers were not given raises because of budget cuts, teachers also say too much money is spent on school district administration instead of in the classroom, and too many classroom decisions are being made without the teachers' input. "We can no longer afford to let politicians and school officials dictate how we will be treated," one teacher said.

The non-binding, no confidence vote may have been directed towards Johnson, but many teachers also had a message for school board members. "We will not tire from this cause, and remember this, the rest of us here, we will remember you in November," another teacher stated.

Many people also raised their voices about these: glowing letters of recommendation written by Art Johnson and three school board members for Chief Academic Officer Jeffery Hernandez. Hernandez, of course not popular with teachers, was removed from his position by Johnson, so people said he didn't deserve these recommendation letters.

Art Johnson has served as superintendent of Palm Beach County schools since March 2001. He is under contract through 2014; however, the school board can fire him at any time with 90 days notice. He is eligible for a severance of up to six months. He makes $300,000 a year.