Pasco teachers, support staff ratify contracts
Pasco County's school teachers and support staff approved the terms of their 2011-12 contract with just days remaining in the contract year.
Sixty-five percent of teachers and 54 percent of school-related personnel cast votes. Of those, 85 percent of teachers and 94 percent of SRP elected to ratify the terms, which do not include raises for a fourth consecutive year.
"If anything, this ratification is a begrudging acknowledgement of the hard work of the bargaining teams," United School Employees of Pasco vice president Kenny Blankenship said. "It is not a endorsement of the sad economic situation and testing frenzy foisted upon school districts by the legislature and DOE."
School district employee relations director Kevin Shibley said he understood the tepid support, noting "this year's contract was even less appealing to employees" than last year's contract.
"If you consider the fact that we had the furlough days and the new evaluation piece in the mix, I'm pleased the employees decided to ratify," said Shibley, the district's lead negotiator.
The School Board still must take a stand on the contract. It is scheduled to vote on June 5. If both sides do not ratify the agreement, they must return to the negotiating table.
Talks for the 2012-13 contract are to begin in July.