Pinellas School Board approves contract with teachers
In a special meeting that began at 1:31 p.m. Friday and ended just five minutes later, the Pinellas County School Board voted 7-0 to approve a new contract with the district's 7,600 teachers, ending a process that proved to be more contentious than in past years.
The vote will give teachers a 4 percent raise for the 2015-16 school year. The raises on average will range from $1,690 annually to $2,103, and will be retroactive to July 1. In a ratification vote Thursday, 82 percent of the teachers who cast ballots approved the deal.
It was a stark contrast to a ratification vote just three weeks ago in which 77 percent of voting teachers rejected a contract that had omitted language they said was key to their working conditions. The issues in question included planning time, a topic that was quickly revisited as union and district leaders returned to the bargaining table. The new deal limits duties such as staff meetings that can cut into planning time.
The contract rejection last month was unusual for Pinellas, which typically moves smoothly from negotiations to final approval.