Raise proposal for non-union workers heads to Pasco School Board
In a break with longstanding tradition, the Pasco County school district administration has asked the School Board to approve raises for workers not covered by collective bargaining before reaching a contract settlement with the rest of the staff.
The proposal for pay increases up to 2.65 percent -- the same amount offered across the table to the United Employees of Pasco -- goes to the board on Tuesday. It would affect about 10 percent of district workers, including all administrators but the superintendent's inner circle.
In past years, the district has held off on offering raises to non-represented employees until negotiations were concluded. Several current and former USEP members urged the board to continue that practice this year.
"The announcement has divided this district into haves and have nots," Cox Elementary teacher Nancy Richie told the board recently.
Retired teacher Beverly Ledbetter called the idea "divisive and harmful."
Superintendent Kurt Browning, frustrated with the USEP's declaration of impasse in bargaining, went forward with the recommendation nonetheless. He has frequently stated his desire to give raises already in the budget as soon as possible, and argued that the people whose jobs aren't impacted in negotiations should not be affected by the USEP's action.
Board members have not tipped their hands as to whether they'll approve Browning's action item.
Chairman Allen Altman said the idea would be "unusual" but he did not necessarily want to be bound by tradition. "I'm inclined to vote on what's right at that particular time," he said, deeming the discussion warranted.
The board meets a day before the sides are planning a return to talks.