Pinellas teachers get a tiny bit more in referendum dollars
This is a little bit of good news for teachers in Pinellas County.
The special property tax that pays for a salary supplement for teachers - $2,852 each last year - should increase this coming year as property values improve. Before everyone celebrates, keep in mind this is a very small improvement. The projected supplement for the 2013/14 school year is $2,922, or about $70 more.
That doesn't make up for other cuts teachers have experienced in recent years. But it's a positive trend for teachers.
Voters approved a tax referendum for the first time in 2004 - and again in 2008 and last year - that provides a salary supplement for teachers and puts money toward the arts, music and reading in Pinellas County's public schools. The split is 80 percent for teacher salaries and 20 percent for the arts.
This year, revenue from the referendum is expected to be about $29 million, with $23 million going to teachers. The money is built into the salary schedule.
Teachers statewide also are expected to receive raises, courtesy Gov. Rick Scott's efforts to build raises into the coming year's budget. Pinellas is getting about $18 million for the raises. District officials have said that amount likely won't cover it. Some of the money must go to school-based administrators and some must go to charter schools, even new ones. That leaves $14.3 million.
Board members weren't pleased that new charter schools would get a portion of the money, since it's meant to be based on performance. Teachers at new charters wouldn't have performance from the previous year on which to base a raise, board members said. Superintendent Mike Grego said he'd call the state and see what the reasoning was.