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Pay increases called unlikely for teachers

A projected revenue shortfall of about $10-million for the coming budget year will probably mean no pay raises for Hillsborough County teachers in 1991-92. Officials from the school system and Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) discussed preliminary budget figures Monday and agreed the budget situation is dismal at best.

"It's much worse than last year," said Robert J. Queirolo, general director of employee relations for the school system.

Preliminary budget figures show it will cost the school system nearly $515-million just to maintain the current level of spending for salaries and benefits for school employees.

The school system would have to pay another $34-million to give teachers pay increases based on their experience, known as the step system.

But the state will give the county only about $18-million in revenue, Queirolo said.

Even with about $6-million that the county has left over from this budget year, officials are projecting a shortfall of about $10-million, Queirolo said.

Last year, teachers and other employees were awarded a 5-percent across-the-board increase.

That raise came in addition to the step-system raise.

A similar across-the-board raise is unlikely this year, said CTA executive director Terry Wilson on Monday.

"Looking at the situation right now, I don't see that occurring, particularly when you're looking at $5-million for a 1-percent increase," Wilson said.

But, he said, "We want to make sure all employees get something."

Of the 8,000 teachers in Hillsborough public schools, about 2,000 have reached the top end of the pay schedule and won't receive any more money if the school system doesn't approve a special supplemental raise for them, Wilson said.

This supplemental raise, however, is far from guaranteed, Wilson said.

Officials will try to find ways to trim the budget in places that don't affect salaries and programs so that money can be found to give teachers small raises.

"Morale is not good," Wilson said.