Pasco reaches performance pay deal
Pasco County teachers and the school district reached a tentative agreement on performance pay late Thursday, three months and five rounds of talks after they began. They now hope that their plan, which does not yet have approval by the School Board or the full teachers union membership, will pass muster with the Florida Department of Education. The department has said districts must submit locally adopted plans by March 1 to qualify for their share of the $147-million set aside for teacher bonuses. Pasco's share is about $3.5-million.
Neither United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb nor School Board chairwoman Marge Whaley were thrilled with having to participate in Special Teachers Are Rewarded, or STAR, which would give 5 percent bonuses to the top performing teachers. Performance will be based on student exam results, unless something changes. Whaley called the STAR law "tremendously bad" and "divisive," and said she hoped lawmakers would revoke or revise it. Said Webb, "We held our nose when we signed it."