Non-bargaining Pasco school district staff win raises
About 1,000 Pasco County school district staff who are not represented by the United School Employees of Pasco won 2.65 percent raises on Tuesday.
School Board members unanimously approved the increase, which they included in the budget and also offered to teachers and school-related personnel during contract talks.
"I just want to make sure the board knows this and the public knows, this is something out of the ordinary," superintendent Kurt Browning said in presenting his recommendation. "What has driven this is that USEP has gone to impasse, and I'm not necessarily willing to hold up raises of people" who are not in negotiations.
Before the vote, board member Colleen Beaudoin indicated she had concerns about the offer.
"I am concerned about providing raises to them before issuing raises to those who have direct contact with children every day," Beaudoin said. "I am concerned about the morale of teachers."
She asked for input from her colleagues, who said they shared her view but did not want to penalize employees who weren't holding up negotiations.
"There is no reason to withhold something from someone who has no control over it," board member Steve Luikart said.
Beaudoin joined the majority to approve the raises, which apply to administrators, professional services staff and some secretaries. The superintendent's cabinet of assistant superintendents will not get the pay hikes.
USEP president Kenny Blankenship rose afterward to deplore the action. He said the district was equally culpable as the union in the delay in contract talks.
"This is an unprecedented recommendation by the superintendent and an unprecedented vote by the board," Blankenship said. "The fact that we have not come to an agreement in negotiations is just as incumbent upon the administration as it is on the union. We have been negotiating in good faith."
Deputy superintendent Ray Gadd said while the move is unusual, it is not without precedent.
Contract negotiations are set to resume Tuesday evening. The district administration is expected to present a new economic proposal.