More about that 8 percent raise
There's been a lot of angst over whether Hillsborough County really is giving its teachers an 8 percent raise, or if it's just paying them their going rate to work longer days. Witness comments from this previous post.
But it's not just Hillsborough teachers who are talking about this issue.
The phones are "ringing off the hook" at the United School Employees of Pasco office, too, union president Lynne Webb told the Pasco School Board on Tuesday. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said she also has gotten confronted with similar questions. The gist: "People want to know, when are we going to match Hillsborough?" Webb said.
Fiorentino then passed out a side-by-side comparison of Hillsborough and Pasco teacher contracts, telling the board that Pasco already does better. Why? Because it doesn't force teachers to work longer hours and then call it a raise.
"They just increased the work load for teachers," Fiorentino said. "They also teach more days than we do."
In fact, Fiorentino explained, even before finishing this year's negotiations, Pasco teachers earn more per hour than Hillsborough teachers will make under their new agreement. Hillsborough starting teachers will work 8 hours daily for 199 days at an hourly rate of $23.25. Starting Pasco teachers worked 7.5-hour days (which won't change) for 196 days at an hourly rate of $24.01 last year.
Webb said active Pasco union members know this. Perhaps the comparison will get more widely spread so the rank-and-file - and the general public - know it too, she added.