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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas teachers union, district reach agreement on extended learning pay



Pinellas County Schools and its teachers union reached an agreement Thursday to pay teachers up to $29 an hour to work with students before and after school next year, the union chief tells Gradebook.

The new sum is well above the approximate $15 teachers are making now. Instead, teachers will make their base hourly salary - minus the referendum dollars that pad the Pinellas budget - so long as that total does not exceed $29.

Kim Black, president of the Pinellas County Classroom Teachers, also says there will be back-pay for current extended-learning teachers; they'll end up having made $20 an hour this school year. Teachers who work at career and tech centers in addition to their full-time teaching positions will also make $20 an hour for the extra work.

"This is good news. This is what the teachers have been waiting to hear," Black said. "The ($15) range was extremely outdated and not appropriate for these times, so we're moving in the right direction."

Negotiations between the union and the district stalled in September over the rate teachers would receive for their work before and after school. The district offered $20, saying that teachers were "tutoring" kids in these programs. Black decried the offer as the district seeking  "discounted" teaching.

The union and the district ended up kicking the can down the road on extended learning pay so they could settle teachers' normal salaries. Black said the agreement was reached during a Thursday meeting.

"It's best for all students if their teacher is not exhausted and having to pull the night shift somewhere to meet their financial needs," Black said.

Each school designs its own before- and after-school programs, which run the gamut of reading, math and science, and can be computer-intensive.

Pinellas increased funding to these programs from $2.8 million in 2012-13 to $4.5 million this school year. Superintendent Mike Grego has also pushed districtwide programs such as Promise Time and Summer Bridge.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 5, 2013 5:50pm]


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