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Deal brings back 130 retired Hillsborough teachers let go for budget cuts

TAMPA — Hillsborough County teachers have reached an agreement with the school district to bring back 130 senior teachers the district had been trying to terminate for budget reasons.

"What we've negotiated is that they will keep their job, and the termination will be undone so it won't be on their record," Jean Clements, president of the Hills­borough Classroom Teachers' Association, said Tuesday.

The teachers had all left retirement to resume teaching in Hills­borough schools on annual contracts, and the district had sought to pay them the first-year teacher's salary of $37,014 this fall. Under a memorandum of understanding reached late Monday, it will now pay them at the fifth-year rate of $39,800.

The district will save around $3.5 million compared to the cost of paying their current salaries based on years of experience, said deputy superintendent Dan Valdez. And it allows the district to retain experienced, valued teachers instead of hiring rookies to fill new openings.

"This is good news for some wonderful, wonderful employees," he said. "And these people want to keep on working."

The agreement affects retired teachers who had been working under an annual contract, and about 200 teachers just leaving the state's deferred retirement program, Clements said. Teachers in the latter group must quit working for at least a month and then work for three years at the starting wage before moving to the fifth step, she said.

"The (school district) had complete authority to never hire them again," Clements said. "What those people were facing was no employment or this compromise."

The agreement must still be ratified by the union membership as part of the annual contract negotiating process. Those talks — including the district's proposal of employee furloughs as a cost-cutting measure — are on hold until Gov. Charlie Crist signs a new state budget, Valdez said.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

Deal brings back 130 retired Hillsborough teachers let go for budget cuts 05/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 12:05am]
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