Pasco teachers, support personnel representatives agree to contract terms
Facing major budget concerns for the coming school year, the United School Employees of Pasco sought to put its current year contract dispute in the past on Monday by reaching an agreement to avoid impasse hearings, which would further postpone conversations about 2011-12.
"We need to put to bed this year and set our sights on what we can do next year," USEP president Lynne Webb said. "While nobody really got ahead, nobody lost ground in a really tough year," she added, suggesting that was the best employees could realistically expect.
The deal, which still requires ratification by the employees and the School Board, would keep employees at the same pay rate as in 2008-09. For teachers, it also set aside the district's proposal to force secondary teachers to instruct six periods of six daily, instead seeking volunteers to teach an extra period for $2,500 a semester, or $5,000 a year.
The USEP had sought to keep the pay rate at that of 20 percent of a teacher's salary for that extra period, and the district had offered less. District employee relations director Kevin Shibley said he hoped the compromise would allow the district to avoid layoffs.
He also was optimistic that another proposal to offer an added retirement incentive of 10 percent of a qualified employee's salary, up to $5,000, would allow the district to scale back the need to lay off people. That offer would be available after the final work day of 2010-11, through the end of June.
"Some of these issues will allow us to reduce some of the shortfall" the district faces in the coming year, Shibley said. "Now we can really focus on 11-12 and where we need to be. $60 million is a lot of money."