Sunday, August 19, 2018
Education

Henderson: Some basic facts about Hillsborough’s teacher pay imbroglio

Hillsborough Countyís public school teachers are horn-honking, voice-raising, sign-waving, foot-stomping mad, and I canít blame them. They are paying for a problem they didnít create.

About one-third of the workforce was expecting to receive a $4,000 raise that had been promised, but after some dithering and harrumphing from top district officials, teachers learned the other night they might only get $92 instead.

Merry Christmas, yíall.

They already feel disrespected by lawmakers, officials and generally by people with fancy titles. This didnít help.

Teachers responded with a noisy protest outside the School Board building, described by Tampa Bay Times education reporter Marlene Sokol a "carnival-like affair that included a hamburger stand and dozens of children."

The good news is, teachers can buy a lot of hamburgers with that extra 92 bucks.

I did a little net-surfing to see what else teachers can afford if they accept this offer (which I wouldnít if I was in their shoes).

I saw a Kuerig coffee maker advertised for $92 on Amazon, although teachers should probably rule that out since they also would need those little coffee packs. Thatís a budget-buster.

There was a heart-rate sensor marked down to $71 from the original $89. A teacher might find that handy the next time they look at their pay stub.

Itís not going out on a thin limb to say this situation will not end well. Fingers are already being pointed in both directions and both sides are dug in to positions that are oceans apart.

The board would have been smarter to stick to its "we have no money, so you get no raise" posture instead of offering a $1.8 million bonus pool that immediately was spun by the union as a slap in the face.

The board never said how the pool had to be divided ó remember, only one-third of teachers were in line for the $4,000 raise.

But the union made its point by taking the boardís offer and making it look as Scrooge-like as possible. It divided the figure among all 20,000 district employees, not just those losing out on the pay bump.

Hence, the $92 figure.

All board members can do is point to the districtís dwindling cash reserve and the dire consequences that will follow if it gets worse.

"Our superintendent has had to make some extremely difficult decisions," employee relations manager Mark West said.

West has been tasked with delivering the bad news to teachers about the pay raise. In the interest of transparency, his annual salary is $118,437.

Letís accept a few basic truths about whatís happening, starting with the fact the union should be screaming bloody murder about what is happening.

The union represents teachers, and its leaders should be holding the boardís collective tootsies to the firepit over the promise it made.

Board members can talk until their tongues melt about the financial crisis that has trashed district finances, and the unionís response should be that a promise is a promise.

The problem with that, though, is the board can come back and say okay fine, what if we lay off a bunch of teachers so we can make the numbers work?

Or maybe members say they wonít fix the air conditioning that always breaks down all over the district. Or they wonít repair leaky roofs. Then they could add, if you think itís bad now, wait Ďtil those lovely folks in Tallahassee tell us to manage our budget better instead of asking for more money.

All these things are true, and there is no easy answer.

Teachers are right to feel they are being forced to pay for district mismanagement that goes back to the MaryEllen Elia era.

Hereís something no one can hide from, though. How will they ever believe anything the board tells them in the future?

Comments

Epilogue: Tampa’s Mother Teresa, Delia Sanchez, remembered as child welfare champion

Delia P. Sanchez collected things — purses, shoes, newspapers. She hid them away in a storage unit, out of sight from her tidy husband. She had her reasons. And not one of them was selfish. The extra accessories? Those were for the mothers of...
Published: 08/18/18
A USF milestone: Three new dorms, more than 6,300 students living on campus

A USF milestone: Three new dorms, more than 6,300 students living on campus

TAMPA ó The paint on Pinnacle Hallís white-and-gold walls still smelled fresh as Lilly Myskey led a parade of parents and bins and bags down the hall toward her new room at the University of South Florida. "Speaking of the building being brand-new, L...
Published: 08/17/18
Florida girl denied school lunch because she was 15 cents short, mother says

Florida girl denied school lunch because she was 15 cents short, mother says

A sophomore at University High School in Volusia County was denied lunch on her first day of school Tuesday because she owed 15 cents, according to WKMG in Orlando.The girlís mother, Kimberly Aiken, told WKMG a cashier in the schoolís lunchroom threw...
Published: 08/16/18
Brooksville pastor challenges longtime principal trying for reelection to Hernandoís District 5 School Board seat

Brooksville pastor challenges longtime principal trying for reelection to Hernandoís District 5 School Board seat

Hernando County School Board District 5 incumbent Susan Duval seconded the motion to fire superintendent Lori Romano on June 12. And thatís why Joe Santerelli said he filed to run against her about a week later.A week after that, the local pastor spo...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Candidates for Hernandoís District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

Candidates for Hernandoís District 3 School Board seat talk mental health, technical education

As Hernando County School Board member Beth Narverud makes her run for a spot on the County Commission, three hopefuls are running to fill her District 3 seat.One is Jimmy Lodato, a Tampa native and 19-year Hernando resident. Retired from a career in...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Incumbent chairman and newcomer battle for Hernandoís District 1 School Board seat

Incumbent chairman and newcomer battle for Hernandoís District 1 School Board seat

Mark Johnson was elected to the Hernando County School Board in 2014. He said his successful track record, combined with local business savvy, make him the clear choice over Catherine "Kay" Hatch for the District 1 seat."Itís not just an opportunity ...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/17/18
Corbett Prep marks 50th year with compassionate stories, family love

Corbett Prep marks 50th year with compassionate stories, family love

TAMPA ó Sammi Borosh sat Tuesday afternoon in one of those tiny chairs for kindergartners and looked across the table at four of her former teachers ó and her eyes misted.Borosh said she loved those four ladies and she loved the school where they tau...
Published: 08/15/18
For this Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, start of school is Ďbeginning of the endí

For this Marjory Stoneman Douglas student, start of school is Ďbeginning of the endí

Barbara Ojago saw her grandsonís first day back at school as the beginning of the end.Her grandson, Emea, will finish his senior year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. But Emea returns to a school forever changed by a former student he pe...
Published: 08/15/18
Pinellas plans new arts and gifted magnet schools in north county

Pinellas plans new arts and gifted magnet schools in north county

Next school year, if all goes according to plan, two new programs will expand the slate of options for Pinellas County elementary students ó a conservatory for the arts in Clearwater and a gifted center in Palm Harbor.The programs, which will go befo...
Published: 08/15/18
Report card on ousted Hernando schools superintendent shows little change from last year

Report card on ousted Hernando schools superintendent shows little change from last year

BROOKSVILLE ó Two months after firing superintendent Lori Romano, the Hernando County School Board on Tuesday reviewed results of a second district-wide survey to evaluate her performance, finding that little changed from last year.Romanoís overall a...
Published: 08/15/18