Sides seek top pay for extra instructional hour at three Pasco schools
Pasco County school district officials tried to come up with every imaginable way to keep the unexpected cost of adding an hour of reading instruction at three low-performing elementary schools to a minimum. The projected price tag of $1 million, for which the district didn't have allocated funding, is now expected to come in closer to $325,000, at a maximum, thanks to creative uses of grants and time.
One area where the district appears unlikely to skimp, though, is in the pay for the teachers called upon to work that extra time.
A joint district-United School Employees of Pasco proposal would give the approximately 24 educators who cover the additional 150 hours — that's 50 minutes a day for 180 days — an extra $5,000 in salary. That comes out to $33.33 an hour, which is just slightly less than the wage of a Pasco teacher with 25 years experience. At Lacoochee Elementary, one of the three schools along with Cox and Gulfside, teachers also already get a bonus of $2,500 for choosing to work there.
Preference for the positions, and the added pay, would be given to the fourth and fifth grade teachers already in Cox, Gulfside and Lacoochee, as the students will be their own. If they're not interested, the district would look to other county educators who have experience in technology and literacy, which would fall in line with the planned instructional model.
The sides have yet to formalize the agreement. They're tentatively scheduled to return to the table Thursday. No other formal salary proposals have been presented. Superintendent Kurt Browning said he is working to find uncommitted money to put into raises larger than 1 percent.