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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Update: Hillsborough teacher contract negotiations

12

July

There's good news and bad news coming out of the bargaining room this week for Hillsborough's teachers.

Teachers are likely to see more money in their paychecks, with a salary increase that could range between six and nine percent, according to Yvonne Lyons, executive director for the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, which bargains on behalf of the district's nearly 15,000 teachers.

She explained how the money adds up: Most teachers are moving to an eight-hour work day in the coming school year, which means 20 minutes of additional work. They will be paid for the extra time, which amounts to a four percent salary increase. The union does not see this as a raise, but rather as pay for additional time worked. On top of this, Lyons said they have reached a tentative agreement with school officials to move teachers up a step, which means an increase of another two percent.

In the last bargaining session, Lyons said the district offered an additional one percent raise. The union rejected that proposal. It has on the table a request for a total increase of nine percent, including the pay coming for the 8-hour day. Reading the tea leaves, negotiations appear headed for somewhere in between the district's seven percent and the union's bid for nine. The union also is seeking an increase in the supplement for coaches, yearbook sponsors and team leaders at all school levels.

But many high school teachers are likely to be disappointed. Their worries about being forced to teach an additional class period this fall -- at a loss of planning time -- do not appear to be going away soon. The district and union have decided to create a committee to monitor the issue.

The group will include teachers, administrators and union representatives. Lyons would like to have some of the teachers who have been speaking out against the changes at School Board meetings for months.

"That's the best we got out of the district side at this point on this issue," Lyons said.

The union also is hoping to see Hillsborough teachers go back to a 180-day school year. Currently, they teach two additional days. So far, Lyons said, the district does not seem to be budging on the issue.

The School Board is scheduled to meet behind closed doors in executive session on Tuesday, prior to a regularly scheduled meeting at 5 p.m. that is open to the public. Of course, everything still could change. But depending on the Board's decisions, Lyons expects that there could be an agreement on the teacher contract as soon as the next negotiating session, scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m.

You can read a memo posted on the union's website to update teachers on the latest negotiating news. The district's general manager of employee relations, Buddy Raburn, declined to comment at this time.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:19am]

    

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