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Pasco schools seek to limit midyear teacher transfers

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County classroom teachers could find their ability to transfer jobs limited during the coming school year.

Citing a desire to have continuity of instruction, district administration on Tuesday proposed barring teacher transfers while school is in session. It did offer a handful of exceptions, including:

• a move to a school 20 miles or more closer to the teacher's home

• a promotion

• a position that is newly created.

"We really believe it is best for students," district employee relations director Betsy Kuhn told United School Employees of Pasco negotiators during contract talks. "We are asking teachers to stay in their one position" for the full year.

The district made a similar recommendation a year ago, but USEP rejected the idea. Superintendent Kurt Browning considered the change necessary for stability, though, and set a committee to investigate rules that might be more palatable.

USEP lead negotiator Jim Ciadella expressed initial dismay with the concept, which he said took away existing rights from teachers.

"My role is to negotiate what is best for the teachers. I don't know what the tradeoff is," he said. "Right now we are not overly interested in this."

He noted that right now, teachers do not face restrictions on seeking employment they think is better for them. At the same time, he acknowledged, rules in surrounding counties are more restrictive.

Kuhn said that much of Pasco's proposal comes from Hillsborough County's teacher contract. That agreement allows lateral transfers in the spring and summer for the following year. Otherwise, midyear transfers are limited to promotions, newly established positions and travel reductions.

Pinellas schools have similar rules, with the added provision that midyear transfers may not take place until the departing teacher is replaced.

The sides did not reach agreement.

Also at negotiations, Kuhn revealed that the district has set aside $7.2 million for across-the-board raises of 2 percent. "It is a priority," she said.

Because of that intention, Kuhn had reservations about accepting a USEP proposal to increase pay teachers get for substituting in other classrooms.

She said the administration wanted to look at all financial ideas at one time to discuss how the resources would be best split.

Ciadella said that USEP stood by its substitute pay offer and pressed hard for it, but accepted that the talks need to continue.

The sides meet again Thursday.

Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at jsolochek@tampabay.com.

Pasco schools seek to limit midyear teacher transfers 07/08/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 7:34pm]
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