Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Education

Pinellas County Schools and services union agree to 5 percent raises

RECOMMENDED READING


The Pinellas County school district reached a tentative agreement Wednesday with its public services union to provide 5 percent across-the-board raises for employees in transportation, food services, maintenance and plant operations.

About 2,500 employees would receive pay raises, which would be retroactive to July 1. The raise is the largest the Florida Public Services Union/SEIU has seen in more than 10 years.

Rick Brant, a business agent for the union, said he was "pleased to get 5 percent in this economy." He said about 1,200 of the employees made $9.39 an hour. With the raise, they'll receive $9.86 an hour. Many of those workers are part-time, he said.

Brant called the district's negotiating team "conscientious" and credited the School Board and the district for being transparent.

"We've got a good board, and they understood that people are struggling," he said.

The agreement still must be approved by both the School Board and the union membership. Employees in the union last year received, on average, a 1.5 percent raise. With other cost increases, such as premium hikes for health insurance, many people were taking home the same amount as in 2007, Brant said

Superintendent Mike Grego said he was thrilled with the agreement.

"Those are people who have been with us through some really difficult recession years, and we're still in it," he said, adding that he believes the raises will help curb turnover in some departments.

Brant said the transportation department has experienced "tremendous turnover." Of 32 people who attended a recent training class, five quit by the eighth day of school, he said.

Employees will see an average increase of 6.4 percent in their health insurance premiums. That number could vary among individual employees, depending on their coverage plans. "But people will still see more money in their paycheck," Brant said.

The district still is negotiating with other employee groups, including the teachers union. Grego said he hopes to bring agreements from all the unions to the School Board in September.

Times Staff Writer Cara Fitzpatrick can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8846. Follow her on Twitter @Fitz_ly.

Comments

University of Central Florida suspends sorority for hazing

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A University of Central Florida sorority has been suspended after its members were accused of hazing, underage drinking and providing false information to law enforcement.The university placed Alpha Xi Delta on an interim suspens...
Published: 11/21/17
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Published: 11/19/17
Pinellas education news: District honors support employees, Discovery Nights resume, and more

Pinellas education news: District honors support employees, Discovery Nights resume, and more

Pinellas names top support employeesFive finalists have emerged from 120 nominees to be the 2017-18 Support Employee of the Year in the Pinellas County school system. The finalists were chosen in five categories. Debra Canning, 21st Century iClass Li...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Class notes

School Calendar• Nov. 27: School resumes after Thanksgiving break• Dec. 22: End of second grading quarter.• Dec. 23-Jan. 7: Winter Break.• Jan. 8: Teacher planning day. No school for students.Arts/Music/TheaterCenter for the Arts at River Ridge Middl...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Makerspace lab exposes Eastside students to tech skills and fun

Makerspace lab exposes Eastside students to tech skills and fun

BROOKSVILLE — The lab at Eastside Elementary School looks high tech, featuring new flooring, cabinets and furniture. Assistant Principal Michael Lastra calls it cutting edge."It’s not like your typical classroom," Lastra said. "The school wanted it t...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/21/17
Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Pasco school district proposes future changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones

Plans to erase the attendance boundaries for Ridgewood High School have grabbed all the attention.But the Pasco County school district also has proposed changes to west-side elementary and middle school zones for consideration this fall.They’re just ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

At St. Petersburg High, alums push to complete private funding for home field improvements

ST. PETERSBURG — The athletic facilities at St. Petersburg High are just like Bob Carter remembers from 50 years ago.He recalls it all fondly: The concession stands, ticket booths and bathrooms are still the same. The track is still outdated asphalt,...
Published: 11/15/17
In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

In union push at USF, adjunct professors strive for more respect and a living wage

TAMPA — Robert Ryan cleaned out his office in May. He knew he was dying.He had kept driving to the University of South Florida even as he lost the use of his left arm. He had kept teaching English, even as tumors ravaged his mouth so that he could ha...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

Hillsborough Education Foundation, Yoobi team to surprise students

The kids at Bing Elementary knew something special was about to happen when a six-foot white dog with a "target" over his right eye walked into the classroom.And they were right.On Tuesday (Nov. 14), volunteers and corporate supporters joined the Hil...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17
New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

New aviation programs at PHSC help propel students toward dreams

DADE CITY — Dustin Snodgrass has a photograph of himself as a child in the pilot’s seat of a kid-size model airplane. Snodgrass, now 28, recently took a big step toward his goal of flying real aircraft with his first solo flight through a new profess...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/16/17