No movement in Pasco school employee contract talks
Despite both sides saying they want to keep talking, the Pasco County school district and employee union have not scheduled any formal bargaining sessions as they head into the weeklong Thanksgiving break.
Representatives from the groups plan to meet informally Nov. 28, where they might set a date to resume negotiations. The United School Employees of Pasco declared an impasse a week ago, shortly after submitting a revised proposal for pay and benefits.
Members flooded the School Board's meeting Tuesday to urge a settlement in their favor. Assistant superintendent for administration Kevin Shibley indicated Friday in an email to superintendent Kurt Browning his concerns with the USEP's latest offer:
"I have also had time to review their most recent economic proposals, and was dismayed to discover that USEP is still attempting to alter the method for providing salary increases to teachers in a way that will reduce the amount of the salary increases provided to new teachers, in favor of disproportionally higher increases for teachers who were hired on or before July 1, 2011, and who remain on the 'grandfathered' salary schedules. I am still not confident their proposed salary structure is statutorily compliant, and their proposal represents another attempt to circumvent the law (at worst) and/or legislative intent (at best)."
Shibley said he would have a comprehensive response and counter offer ready when the sides return to the table.
The administration also has partially reacted to calls for the district to not give raises to non-bargaining staff, as Browning has proposed, as long as those represented by USEP have not concluded negotiations. Browning's recommendation, which goes to the School Board on Dec. 6, breaks from longstanding tradition in which all employees get the same percentage pay increase at the same time. Many educators have called the move divisive.
Browning has refused to back away from his plan, which would benefit about 1,000 workers. He has told his senior staff, though, that they would not get added pay under the proposal. Those people are: Browning; deputy superintendent Ray Gadd; area superintendents Tammy Berryhill, Todd Cluff, Monica Ilse and David Scanga; assistant superintendents Vanessa Hilton, Betsy Kuhn and Shibley; chief finance officer Olga Swinson; communications and government relations director Linda Cobbe; and strategic initiatives and allocation manager Kim Poe.