Pinellas teachers union achieves contract settlement
The Pinellas County teachers union reached a contract agreement with the school district late Thursday after 18 months of negotiations. The proposed settlement includes working conditions and rights but does not include language about salary and insurance.
“It was important to end the school year knowing what our working conditions will be even if we don’t know our salary,” said union president Kim Black. “But with the district proposing six days of furloughs, there was no way we could in good conscience recommend anything to the membership that includes pay cuts.”
Black said she feels confident that Pinellas will be one of the few school districts in Florida to avoid layoffs. But in an effort to prevent them, faculty reps made the “uncomfortable” decision of agreeing that secondary teachers would teach six of seven periods, Black said.
“They understand the district is in the midst of a financial crisis,” she said. “We couldn’t say no to $9 million in savings.”
Other contract highlights include:
• “Re-opener” language that requires the School Board to monitor the budget along with the union and to re-open salary, benefits and work load negotiations if and when the state funding situation improves.
• A limit on the number of separate lesson plans secondary teachers will be required to provide per day without the teacher’s agreement.
• A provision that allows teachers to share sick leave days with family members who also are school employees.
Faculty representatives will hold meetings at schools early next week to present the contract changes and to answer questions prior to contract ratification May 20. To view the full proposal, go to http://www.pcta-pespa.org/.
Donna Winchester, Pinellas education reporter