Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando teachers want 5.5% raise like superintendent's

BROOKSVILLE — Teachers and the Hernando County School Board were far apart Monday in their first proposals on a contract for the coming school year.

Related News/Archive

The school district said it could afford to offer teachers only a seniority-based "step increase" in their current contract, a 1.14 percent average gain, given the troubled economy and uncertainty over how many state-funded students will enroll in August.

But the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association said its members deserved a 5.5 percent increase, just like the one superintendent Wayne Alexander got last month.

"What we hear from our teachers is they really feel they deserve a 5.5 percent increase because the superintendent got it. The board gave it to him," lead negotiator Steve Stora said. "Our proposal was very reasonable. We did not come in asking for 14 percent."

That larger figure, Alexander's opening bid, came as a shock to teachers and board members alike when he made it last April. Board member Jim Malcolm, who voted against any raise, predicted that an early increase for the superintendent would set the tone for salary talks with teachers.

Despite those differences, negotiators on both sides struck a conciliatory tone at Monday's session, talking about contract language and a union proposal to compress the 28 steps in the current salary scale to a more manageable 16.

Union officials said their 5.5 percent proposal could end up costing the district no more money than the $75.9-million it set aside last year for teacher salaries, if an expected enrollment increase of about 340 students fails to materialize.

But district negotiators said the new, compressed salary schedule could bring unexpected costs in future years.

"We have to make sure we can afford the salary schedule each year," said Heather Martin, executive director of business services.

"It will definitely be less than the cost of living," union president Joe Vitalo countered.

Speaking after the meeting, Vitalo acknowledged that it's a tough time for the School Board to fulfill its goal of closing the pay gap between Hernando and neighboring counties.

"We understand it's a tough economy out there right now," he added. "But when you can't take care of your family at home, how effective are you going to be in the classroom?"

Alexander said it was a "reasonable expectation" that the district would see enrollment gains and the extra per-student funding this August. Until those numbers are known, the district won't know exactly how much it has for teacher salaries.

But he said the teachers have the right to ask for as much money as they believe they deserve.

"Just like the superintendent, they have the right to start negotiating wherever they want," Alexander said.

Tom Marshall can be reached at or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando teachers want 5.5% raise like superintendent's 06/23/08 [Last modified: Sunday, June 29, 2008 1:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions in county funding toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  2. Man injured when small helicopter crashes into Odessa home


    ODESSA — Firefighters and sheriff's deputies were investigating Monday after a small helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  3. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child


    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  4. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it


    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Editorial: Senate health care bill would be disastrous for Florida


    The frantic effort by Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something — anything — ranks raw politics over sound policy and threatens the health care of millions of Floridians. It is a desperate attempt to declare victory by shifting responsibility from the federal government …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks in August in Doral.