Pinellas, teachers union negotiating raises
Pinellas County Schools and the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association are "fairly close" to reaching an agreement about how to provide teachers with the pay raises promised by Gov. Rick Scott, the union's executive director said Wednesday.
Bruce Proud said negotiations are a "better conversation" when money is available. Pinellas received about $18 million for teacher raises. In some ways, that makes it easier than last year when teacher raises were paid for with changes to the district's health insurance plan. However, the money provided isn't enough for the $2,500 pay raise for each teacher that Scott promised.
The amount was based on how many classroom teachers Pinellas has, but left out charter schools (which get a share), school-based administrators and other instructional personnel, Proud said. It also didn't include money that needs to go to the state's retirement system.
"It's not enough to do what the governor's been saying," Proud said.
There's also next year to be considered. Simply dividing the money and "putting it on the schedule" could be devastating next year if the state doesn't provide money for the raises again, he said.
The two sides also are discussing health insurance for January 2014. Humana, the district's provider, has asked for an increase in premiums. Proud said neither side wants to see major changes to health coverage.
Negotiations will start at 3 p.m. today at PCTA headquarters, 650 Seminole Blvd, Largo.