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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Hillsborough teachers consider furloughs



Teachers might wind up taking two unpaid days off, and year-round school employees might take three days, under a contract proposal from the Hillsborough County School District.

Classroom Teachers Association executive director Yvonne Lyons said her union is just now evaluating the proposal, which officials presented in a meeting on Thursday.

Bargaining resumes on March 19.

The furloughs would save the district an estimated $11.4 million a year, Lyons said. Far more controversial, she said, is a proposal that retired teachers who are hired back accept beginning salaries rather than receiving credit for their experience. That difference could amount to $25,000 a year for those returning teachers, she said.

A recent survey showed that, compared to other cost-cutting measures, many teachers would be able to accept the furloughs. It might make sense to close the schools on the shorter Thanksgiving week, Lyons said, and add two days elsewhere on the calendar.

However, she said the lost earnings will be hardship, especially to lower-paid teaching assistants, clerical and custodial workers.

"At least half our our employees are blue-collar workers," she said. "Our teacher aides are earning barely above minimum wage."

-- Marlene Sokol, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:16am]


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