VIERA, Florida — Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Desmond Blackburn will forego a pay raise for 2017-2018 and instead donate the money for classroom supplies for teachers at low-income schools.
The superintendent was among the 790 school administrators, technology specialists, program directors and other non-union employees who were granted a 1.5 percent pay increase by the school board on Dec. 12. Two unions representing BPS teachers and support staff had rejected the 1.5 percent raise.
Blackburn explained his decision Thursday:
“Board members were thinking of our awesome staff when they voted to give them more money by the holidays. Incidentally, my position was on the list of those non-union employees. Although I’m proud to have my pay linked to the people who serve our children and neighborhood schools every day, our team doesn’t need another distraction from our mission. I’m quite certain that board members were not thinking about my pay when they made their decision to help hundreds of other hard-working employees.”
Blackburn has directed BPS’ chief financial officer to take back his raise and donate the same sum (about $3,300) to the Supply Zone for Teachers, a shop in Cocoa that is run by the Brevard Schools Foundation and is funded by donations. The Supply Zone allows teachers from 22 of Brevard’s highest-poverty schools to pick up free supplies such as pencils, paper, markers and backpacks for their students.
Blackburn encouraged others in the community to donate money or school supplies to the Supply Zone at the following address:
Supply Zone for Teachers
1225 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922