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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Work the contract, Pasco district tells teachers



Usually, it's teacher union leaders who call on members to do only what their contract requires and not a thing more.

With a furlough day coming up next Thursday, though, the Pasco County school district administration is the one sending out that message.

"Federal law directs that 'exempt' or 'salaried' employees must be treated as 'non-exempt' or 'hourly' employees during weeks in which furlough days occur," employee relations director Kevin Shibley wrote in a memo to employees (attached below). "This means that during the week in which a furlough day occurs, a 'salaried' employee can only work the total number of hours he or she is scheduled to work during non-furlough days."

Shibley explained that the law is aimed at making sure an employer -- in this case the district -- does not attempt to force employees to do extra work on other days of the week, essentially subverting the point of the furlough. "The rule is in place to protect the employees," he said.

It has caused some unexpected consequences that actually has teachers taking the other side of the equation. Some have called the district to say they have plans to participate in their school holiday concerts after hours, and wondering how they can do that if they're not allowed to work extra time.

Same for some teachers who had planned to grade and return end-of-semester projects and reports before break begins.

District spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli said the teachers can make arrangements such as flexing their hours to ensure that they accomplish their goals for the week. Those who earn supplements for the activities, such as coaches, are already being paid extra for that work and so the restrictions do not apply.

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 1:44pm]


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