Pasco school employees declare impasse in contract negotiations
The United School Employees of Pasco announced this morning that it has declared impasse in its efforts to reach a contract settlement with the Pasco County School Board.
The School Board is scheduled to meet with its new members to discuss negotiations in an executive session tonight.
USEP president Lynne Webb said in an advisory to employees that the the association cannot accept the board's position to hold in abeyance federal stimulus money that is supposed to be used to pay teacher salaries and benefits. The board and administration have indicated they would put a portion of the nearly $14 million toward avoiding a furlough, but have held firm that they want to spend the rest next year to avoid layoffs.
"The superintendent's unwillingness to recommend utilizing the funding dollars as they are intended is a slap in the face to all teachers and SRP," Webb wrote. "The District cannot unilaterally decide to set these funds aside. They must negotiate how these funds will be spent."
Unless the sides can reach an agreement independently, the next step would be to bring a hearing officer to try to mediate a settlement. Webb said she hopes to reach a conclusion quickly.
Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said she understood the employees' frustrations.
"It is unfortunate that USEP continuously refuses to address the financial realities facing our district (both this year and next)," Fiorentino said in statement. "Their proposals would further exacerbate the funding cliff of $47 million for next year, as they suggest using non-recurring revenue to pay for recurring expenses. We have an obligation to ensure the long-term financial stability of the District while making decisions that are in the best interest of students and employees. We will take this proactive approach as we work through the impasse process."
More details as we get them.