Pasco County teacher contract negotiations begin for 2016-17
As last year, the Pasco County school district and its employee union kicked off contract talks well before the end of the academic year with hopes of reaching a deal prior to teachers' return in the fall.
The first round on Monday yielded just one agreement — a memorandum of understanding relating to keeping highly effective teachers in classrooms — but no one expected much more. The sides generally try to get the easier issues handled before turning the more contentious ones, which in the past have centered on pay, evaluations and benefits.
Last year, they signed a contract that included raises before the first day of classes. Superintendent Kurt Browning has indicated his desire to offer raises up to 3 percent again for next year, making salaries a priority in a year when new money not claimed by ongoing expenses is limited. The district recently implemented a spending freeze to try to make sure there's enough money available.
United School Employees of Pasco leaders have welcomed the talk of improved pay rates. They have said they won't rush into any agreements, though.