Pinellas teachers, support professionals unions ratify contracts
The results are in.
The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association and the Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association overwhelmingly voted in favor to ratify their bargaining agreements with the Pinellas County school district. The mail-in ballots were counted Wednesday night.
PCTA president Mike Gandolfo said 96 percent of the 3,228 votes by teachers were in favor of the contract. That's a much smaller turnout than last year, when 77 percent of the 5,427 ballots rejected the proposed agreement, requiring a second vote which was ultimately approved by 82 percent.
"I think they were just so angry (then) that it made them want to go to the polls," Gandolfo said. "This time everyone was kind of content, I guess, and happy with the contract."
There are about 7,200 teachers in Pinellas County who will receive a 3.85 percent pay increase. The contract also includes new language guaranteeing that effective and highly effective teachers in good standing will be recommended for renewal, as roughly half of Pinellas teachers are on annual contracts.
Just 21 out of 1,310 votes were against ratifying PESPA's agreement with the district. New language in PESPA's agreement grants awards of $250 and $275 to workers who complete Certificates of Distinction, and workers will get a 2.3 percent average pay raise. PESPA represents about 2,500 employees.