Pasco prepares to debate performance pay
With negotiations all over but the counting, Pasco County's teachers and school district administrators are making plans to get back to negotiating again.
Representatives from the district and the United School Employees of Pasco have told the Gradebook that they expect to get together after winter break to begin talks over how to implement performance and differential pay.
Such an effort is now required as part of Florida's new accountability law. It mandates that districts pay teachers extra for raising student achievement and set pay rates that would differ depending upon things like school demographics and level of job performance difficulty, among other things.
USEP president Lynne Webb said she wants to see the 2009-10 contract ratified first, but after that discussions about performance pay could begin. The union does not oppose the concept out of hand, she stressed, even though it fought against some of the state-imposed programs of the past, such as MAP and STAR.
If teachers have a role in crafting the plans and make them fair, Webb said, their opposition should be limited.
Kevin Shibley, lead negotiator for the school district, acknowledged the need to have teachers involved in the mix. He said the contract cannot violate Florida law, but it could remain silent on the subject of performance pay if no agreement can be reached.
Once in place, the performance and differential pay plans would affect teachers in all Pasco schools that have fallen into an accountability improvement category. That would be 71 of them.
Pinellas officials also have said they will have similar conversations soon.