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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Teacher pension adjustments are safe, district says

Mistakes happen, right? And it's best when they are quickly corrected.

In Hillsborough County, someone sent a letter to as many as a dozen low-performing teachers, saying they would have to repay money they had received to help fund a state pension plan.

The $750 payments came about after a state law last year required teachers to pay 3 percent of their salaries into the pension plan.  That arrangement amounted to a pay cut, and both the administration and School Board felt compelled to cushion the blow. "It's the least we can do," board member Candy Olson said at the time. Each teacher was to receive $500 in the fall and $250 in the spring.

But someone in the business office didn't get the message that these payments were for all teachers, not just those who did well in their evaluations.

The misunderstanding probably happened this way, according to union lawyer Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins: Normally, a teacher who receives an unsatisfactory rating does not get a pay raise until he or she shows improvement.

But this situation was different.

Teachers who got the letters called the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, which notified officials at the district. "They were immediately responsive," said Baxter-Jenkins.

The bottom line: No one is coming after teachers for that $750.
 

[Last modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 1:51pm]

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