Pinellas teachers contract remains unsettled
It looks like Pinellas teachers will be facing students next week with no decision on the salary portion of their contract.
Ron Stone, the district’s chief negotiator, told School Board members Tuesday that a series of collective bargaining sessions has moved furloughs off the table. But the economic downturn has resulted in lower pay for teachers this year. In 2006, voters approved a referendum that subsidizes teacher salaries. Declining tax revenues this year, however, have resulted in a $290-per-teacher pay reduction. That continues to be a sticking point.
District officials offered a paid training day to help make up the difference. Union officials refused the offer.
“The union has been adamant that what they’re trying to do this year is get a salary increase,” Stone said. “They have pretty much said they’re not interested in the mandatory training day.”
Union president Kim Black said the teachers are not opposed to additional training, but the only day on the calendar available is June 11.
“What good does it do to offer training at the end of the year?” Black said.
Superintendent Julie Janssen declared an impasse last month as contract negotiations remained stuck. The state Public Employees Relation Commission is expected to appoint a special magistrate in the next couple of weeks.
No further collective bargaining sessions are scheduled at this point, Stone said.
Donna Winchester, Pinellas Education Reporter