Pinellas teachers approve contract with school district
Teachers ratified their contract with the Pinellas County School District, union officials announced late Thursday.
More than half of the district's 7,800 teachers turned out to vote, with 80 percent casting their vote in favor of the agreement.
The contract gives teachers a small raise - about 1.5 percent on average, based on years of experience - and does away with early release Wednesday in the 2013-14 school year. Teachers will see a change in their health insurance. (The change could save some employees money, while costing others more.) The district and union also will create a task force to discuss planning time, professional development and flexible scheduling.
Board members will vote Tuesday on whether to approve the agreement.
District officials and union leaders reached a tentative agreement two weeks into the school year after 18 months of negotiations - the longest in the history of the district, according to the union. In a press release, Kim Black, president of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, said the contract "lays important groundwork for meaningful dialogue regarding teaching and learning."
The Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association also ratified their agreement with the district Thursday, with a 91 percent approval rate. About 48 percent of support professionals cast a vote, according to the union. Their agreement is similar, providing a 1.5 percent raise on average and health insurance changes. The contract also created more definitive seniority rules for summer programs, the union said.