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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Show them the benefits



Loads of Pasco teachers and support personnel have been e-mailing School Board members complaining about their health insurance benefits. Their concern? The open enrollment period ends Nov. 7, yet there's no formal deal in place to guarantee the district will pay the $191 increased cost per employee.

"Our employees need a signed agreement for their benefits," USEP president Lynne Webb told the Gradebook. "There are wastebaskets all over cluttered with broken promises."

Whaley Retiring board member Marge Whaley said she's urging teachers who contact her not to worry, as the issue is not on the table for the board.

"Last year it wasn't signed off until after open enrollment was over, and nobody said a word," Whaley told the Gradebook, attributing this year's more militant stance to the pending superintendent's election. "It's going to be signed when the contract is going to be signed."

After getting many concerned calls, the administration also sent a letter to all employees on Friday, reassuring them that "the Board has committed to absorbing this cost without increasing employee contributions." But the union remained nonplussed, stating in a bargaining update to members today that "the only binding lawful agreement is one signed by the District and USEP as part of negotiations."

The USEP has declared impasse in the contract talks. The board and administration aren't there, yet, though. "Typically, you don't declare impasse until you have made your final offers and you can't agree," assistant superintendent Renalia DuBose told the Gradebook. "We haven't declared impasse. We asked for more time."

The administration plans to provide the latest student enrollment information to the board during a Tuesday morning closed-door session, where the board is to provide direction on how to proceed with salaries and benefits.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:02am]


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