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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Salary steps delayed in Pasco teacher contract talks



When Pasco County school teachers head back to work in August, they again won't see any pay increase based on their years of service.

During negotiations Thursday, the school district asked the United School Employees of Pasco to delay any discussion of salary steps -- pay raises built into the contract based on the completion of another year of work -- until at least early September.

Such a postponement would allow the district finance team to have a better handle on exactly how much money is available for general operations. A step for all employees would total about $6 million, employee relations director Kevin Shibley told USEP representatives.

To push the issue now would lead to a clear negative response, he noted: "If we started talking steps now, the district position would be, we don't have the money to pay for it."

In fact, he said, the district still is trying to cut $6 million or more in spending, which has prompted talk of a furlough rather than a raise. But if some "miracle" arises, Shibley said, the district certainly will look at steps as well as eliminating furlough consideration.

USEP lead negotiator Jim Ciadella signed off on the delay in step conversations, calling it "the prudent thing to do." Later, he asked a question aimed at looking into the different ways to save money with less pain for employees, who have not seen pay hikes in three years.

"What is the cost saving for a one-day furlough -- district-wide, district offices, everything?" he asked.

Shibley said he would try to have an answer when the sides reconvene a week from Tuesday. 

[Last modified: Thursday, July 14, 2011 3:49pm]


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