Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Education

Hillsborough teachers reach tentative pay deal with district

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County teachers union reached a tentative agreement Thursday with the school district that, compared to prior offers, increases the potential for performance pay and gives slightly more money to classroom aides.

"We've got to hammer out some details, but I think we're pretty good," said Stephanie Baxter Jenkins, the union's executive director.

"I'm excited," said district employee relations manager Mark West. "I'm so happy we're actually getting this resolved so we can get our employees paid."

West acknowledged earlier that the contentious negotiations, which began in the summer, hindered efforts to improve morale under the leadership of first-year superintendent Jeff Eakins.

Over the course of the talks, union leaders accused the district of pitting teachers — who saw their earnings improve during a reform experiment funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — against the aides, who earn so little that some get food stamps.

In the end, the two groups still were not treated equally. Assuming the agreement is ratified, teachers' scheduled pay raises will be retroactive to July 1. The aides will get a 6 percent raise but it will not be retroactive. Instead, they'll get bonuses of $275, a $25 increase over the last offer.

District officials say that, for more than 90 percent of the aides, the bonus will be at least as good as a retroactive raise. While the union did not like the precedent, the district insisted it's also the fastest way to get money into the aides' paychecks.

The two sides have had to contend with numerous uncertainties as they have slogged through the talks.

No one knows what the teacher evaluation system will look like now that Eakins is undoing key components of the Gates reforms. And, with state test data late to arrive, district officials did not know how many teachers would qualify for performance bonuses of $1,900 and $2,900 based on last year's work. On Thursday they estimated the tab could run as high as $14.5 million this year.

An agreement could come before the School Board in January.

Contact Marlene Sokol at (813) 226-3356 or [email protected] Follow @marlenesokol

Comments
Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

Ridgewood High faithful recall ‘Pride of Pasco’ as school forges a new path

NEW PORT RICHEY — The line snaked through the hallways and into the cafeteria, as the Ridgewood High faithful waited for their chance to secure a piece of the school’s 40-year history.They came by the hundreds — current and former students, staff and...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

Words of wisdom from Class of 2018 on how school shootings have transformed them

TAMPA — The pain of the Parkland shootings Feb. 14 was fresh on the minds of Hillsborough County’s graduating seniors when about 300 of them received an assignment. Write a 250-word essay on how decades of school shootings have touched y...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

WEEKI WACHEE — A 16-year-old was arrested Tuesday on allegations that she created a fake social media post threatening to shoot students at Weeki Wachee High School, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said the 16-year-old told...
Published: 05/22/18
Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

Hillsborough school district, teachers move closer to pay deal

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District and its teachers’ union moved closer to resolving their salary dispute during Monday’s negotiating session — but stopped short of reaching an agreement.The teachers, who have spent this school year work...
Published: 05/21/18
Updated: 05/22/18
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Published: 05/21/18
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Published: 05/20/18
Updated: 05/21/18

Hooper: SEL lends a solution to the increasingly toxic world of kids

An incident recently arose between students at Jesuit High School and Academy of the Holy Names that involved allegations of cyberbullying, homophobia, misogyny and assault.It only involved a fraction of the students at two of Tampa’s most prestigiou...
Published: 05/19/18
Updated: 05/22/18
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18