Pasco teachers reject performance pay
Once again, Pasco's classroom teachers have turned down the opportunity to claim bonuses of about $2,100 from the state. The United School Employees of Pasco has joined a growing number of colleagues across Florida in refusing to participate in the Merit Award Plan, which would give extra pay to 25 percent of teachers based on their students' performance and their job evaluations. (To see the plan, see this past post.)
Two-thirds of the union's nearly 5,000 teachers cast ballots on the proposed agreement. Of those, 76 percent rejected the deal. Pasco teachers voted down participation in the Special Teachers Are Rewarded plan that preceded MAP, too.
"What's remarkable is that during a time when the district is facing funding cutbacks and teacher raises are on hold, the teachers put their principles ahead of their pocketbooks and said, 'We can't be bought,'" USEP president Lynne Webb said in a news release. She added that the vote affirms teachers' opinion that performance pay is no substitute for adequate pay. (To read the full release, click here.)
The Pasco School Board is scheduled to vote on the performance pay agreement tomorrow. It could impose the deal on the teachers if it wants to claim the $3.5-million the state has set aside for the bonuses. Board vice chairwoman Kathryn Starkey, who led the charge to reject the STAR plan, told the Gradebook that she hasn't decided what to do this time.
"In my opinion, Sen. Gaetz and the Legislature made great improvements with the MAP plan," Starkey said, noting teachers can be evaluated in teams, and administrators are included. "I have to look into this."