Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Teachers, Pinellas school district reach $1.1 million settlement

More than 1,400 middle school teachers will receive about $800 each as part of a $1.1 million settlement reached late Tuesday over a suit filed last month by the Pinellas teachers union.

The suit asked the court to uphold an arbitrator's order that the district return to a six-period day, after the School Board voted in the summer to lengthen the middle school day by 14 minutes and add an additional period.

The teachers have been teaching the additional period since August without added pay. The arbitrator ruled in November that the change violated the teachers' contract, which stipulates that they teach no more than five periods in a seven-period schedule.

Schools will have the option of remaining on the current seven-period day for the rest of the academic year, or they can transition to a "floating seven" block schedule that will allow for uninterrupted planning time before the school day begins.

The district has not yet decided what schedule the teachers will follow next year.

"This late in the game, neither party felt it was in the best interest of students to disrupt their schedules," said union president Kim Black. "A compensatory settlement was the only way to rectify the situation."

She added: "While our contract was violated, hopefully by fighting this battle, we won't have battles of this nature in the future."

Black praised superintendent Julie Janssen for her willingness to settle the suit out of court. She also commended the board for authorizing Janssen to withdraw an impasse the superintendent had filed that stopped collective bargaining on a successor contract.

Janssen notified the Public Employment Relations Commission late Tuesday that the School Board and the union had resolved the issues that led to the impasse, clearing the way for collective bargaining to continue.

The stipulation agreement includes a clause stating that the district has agreed to withdraw the declaration of impasse and continue bargaining until such time as both parties can reach agreement on the issues still under negotiation.

It also includes agreements by the School Board to waive its right to challenge the validity of the arbitration ruling and on the part of the union to dismiss the lawsuit.

School Board attorney Jim Robinson, who maintained at the time the suit was filed that the district had negotiated in good faith with the union to reach a resolution, said Tuesday's settlement is in the best interest of students and teachers.

"It also protects the long-standing good relationship between the district and the union," Robinson said.

Donna Winchester can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8413.

Teachers, Pinellas school district reach $1.1 million settlement 02/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 12:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday


    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102