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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas discussing expansion of differential pay



Interim Pinellas superintendent John Stewart emailed staff last night with an update on collective bargaining, saying the district and PCTA were talking about expanding a modest differential pay program from seven schools to 13. The memo also said the district can't afford a $250 training supplement for instructional staff and denied PCTA's request for teacher trade days because they're largely "not being utilized as intended." Here's the memo in full:

Dear Colleagues,

District leadership met today with representatives of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association to continue contract negotiations. Here is a summary of that meeting:

• The district and PCTA representatives discussed expanding differentiated pay in the amount of $1,000 per instructional staff member beyond the seven schools currently receiving it (Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs and Lakewood high schools; and Fairmount Park, Lakewood and Woodlawn elementary schools) to instructional staff at six additional schools: Maximo, Melrose, James B. Sanderlin and Woodlawn elementary schools; and Azalea and Pinellas Park middle schools. The district expects to have the expanded stipulation agreement ready for School Board approval on Nov. 8.

• The district informed PCTA of its desire to eliminate early release on Wednesdays for the 2012-13 school year but expressed willingness to collaborate on finding more effective ways to maximize professional development and planning time for instructional staff.

• The district rejected PCTA’s request to provide a $250 training supplement for instructional personnel. Such a supplement would have cost the district more than $2 million, an amount that we simply cannot sustain at this time.

• The district denied PCTA’s request for teacher trade days, largely on the grounds that they were not being utilized as intended.

• The district indicated it will present a proposal in the near future for restructuring the process and calculations of terminal sick leave; the new policy will apply to all PCS employees, including administrators.

• The district agreed to review proposed PCTA language regarding the Teacher Evaluation System, in particular, language pertaining to annual contracted teachers, in so far as the language aligns with Florida Statute.

As I wrote in the last bargaining update, the district presented language to PCTA that would restructure the current Bargaining Leadership Team in an effort to improve efficiency and effective operations. PCTA representatives refused the district’s request, so additional language will be presented at the next bargaining session.

To refresh our progress to date, the School Board has agreed thus far to:

• Remove furlough days from consideration for all employee groups.

• Reduce the current 199-day instructional personnel contract to 198 days beginning this year, making the Monday of Thanksgiving week (Nov. 21) a non-working day for current 199-day instructional personnel with no loss of pay.

• Fifteen of the 48 articles included in the teacher contract including issues related to class sanctity, student discipline, teacher facilities and materials, and teacher travel.

Our union partners have expressed concern about the pace of negotiations. I want to assure our teachers that both bargaining groups – district leadership and PCTA – are committed to a swift resolution to contract negotiations. At the same time, we want to make sure that we are deliberate in laying the framework for this crucial document that will guide our way of work for the next three years.

As always, I appreciate the hard work and dedication of all who are involved in this process.

John A. Stewart

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:54am]


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