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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

State money for teacher raises not enough, Pasco superintendent tells staff

As soon as the Florida legislative session ended, Gov. Rick Scott hit the road to celebrate the money he had inserted in the 2013-14 budget specifically for teacher raises.

After taking a closer look at the numbers, though, school district officials around the state determined that the allocations they'd be getting would not cover pay hikes as the governor envisioned. In order to get there, the districts would need more.

Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning warned his staff of the situation in a recent email, shortly after his administration and the United School Employees of Pasco began preparing to negotiate the 2013-14 contract.

"We have been allocated approximately $11.7 million for salary increases for instructional and some school-based administrative staff members," Browning wrote. "In order to provide the $2,500 raises for eligible effective teachers and school-based administrators, and up to $3,500 for eligible highly effective teachers and school-based administrators, in accordance with the Legislature’s criteria, it would cost us almost $14.5 million."

He noted that the Legislature has given districts flexibility to negotiate deals, in order to ensure that everyone who deserves a raise gets one. And Browning stressed that his goal will be to increase everyone's salary. That includes non-instructional staff members, for whom the state didn't provide any extra funding for pay. As a result, the superintendent has recommended the School Board allocate $3.5 million from other sources to cover that cost.

The board is still considering how to generate that $3.5 million, with its decision due on June 4.

Read on for Browning's full email to staff. How do you think districts should resolve this issue?

Message to Pasco staff from superintendent Kurt Browning:

"As has been my practice, I want to be the one to give you important news first. With that in mind, you should be aware of the current situation relating to raises.  For the first time in six years, the Legislature provided funding for raises; however, they told us how we had to use these dollars.  That said, we have been allocated approximately $11.7 million for salary increases for instructional and some school-based administrative staff members. In order to provide the $2,500 raises for eligible effective teachers and school-based administrators, and up to $3,500 for eligible highly effective teachers and school-based administrators, in accordance with the Legislature’s criteria, it would cost us almost $14.5 million. Because many Districts are experiencing this same funding issue, the legislature has provided additional flexibility to Districts to negotiate lesser amounts consistent with the funding they have been provided. This amount does not include the cost to provide non-instructional employees and district-based administrators with similar increases.  We will continue to work with USEP to negotiate raises for employees who are eligible for a portion of the $11.7 million allocated by the state, and we also are working as a staff to find the resources to provide a raise to all District employees.  My goal is to provide salary increases to all District employees as soon as possible.  We still are experiencing difficult times as a district, but I want you to understand how much I appreciate all of your efforts to make our students college, career, and life ready."

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 6:30am]

    

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