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Pasco County teachers union makes salary request

By Jeff Solochek
USEP president Don Peace and Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning say they want to complete contract talks with raises as soon as possible. [USEP photo]

Two days after making a pay request for non-instructional personnel, the United School Employees of Pasco returned to the table late Wednesday to present its salary proposal for teachers.

The union has asked for a 0.875 percent cost-of-living increase for every teacher, adding that amount to their base pay before any supplements are considered. That change would total $2.1 million, or half the money USEP is seeking for higher teacher salaries.

The other half would be applied to the district's performance-based and grandfathered salary schedule plans. See the details here.

As with the non-instructional request, the USEP also has asked for a $142 per employee increase in health insurance costs. The district traditionally has fully covered this benefit for its staff.

USEP operations director Jim Ciadella said the union acknowledged the district's financial projections that about $3.3 million is available for added pay, but is seeking more initially in hopes added funds might arise.

The district intends to bring a counter-proposal after reviewing the union offer. Employee relations director Kathy Scalise said the next meeting would likely come next week.

Both USEP president Don Peace and superintendent Kurt Browning have said they hoped to have negotiations complete already. The sides are aiming to get the work done before Thanksgiving, if possible.