Contracts with teachers, support professionals approved in Pinellas
The Pinellas County School Board approved unanimously today the contracts with the teachers union and the support professionals union. The board also agreed to give all other non-bargaining employees the same raise.
The contract gives teachers a small raise - about 1.5 percent on average, based on years of experience - and does away with early release Wednesday in the 2013-14 school year. Teachers will see a change in their health insurance. (The change could save some employees money, while costing others more.) The district and union also will create a task force to discuss planning time, professional development and flexible scheduling.
Teachers ratified the contract last week, with 80 percent of those voting approving it. (Voter turnout was 52 percent.) The agreement comes after 18 months of difficult negotiations, the longest in the history of the district, according to the union.
Keep in mind that not all teachers are truly going to see more money in their paychecks, despite the raise. The district's tax referendum, which supports teacher salaries and arts programs, has provided fewer dollars to teachers because of declining property values. So some teachers will benefit more from the 1.5 percent than others. (The range, based on experience, is a $300 bump to a $5,000 bump, with most teachers toward the lower end.)
The Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association also receive a 1.5 percent raise on average and health insurance changes. The contract also created more definitive seniority rules for summer programs, the union said.