Advertisement
  1. Gradebook

Teacher pay raises top budget priorities for Pasco schools, superintendent says

School Board members and teachers have called for bigger salary boosts than the district has been offering.
Pasco superintendent Kurt Browning seeks support from community leaders for a plan to revamp offerings in schools along the US 19 corridor, during a Jan. 31, 2019, meeting at River Ridge High School. Browning told the School Board on May 22 that the projects remain a priority, but pay raises will come first. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
Published May 22

Two weeks after the formal approval of a contract putting 2.7 percent more money into Pasco County teacher salaries, superintendent Kurt Browning says he aims to do better for 2019-20.

Browning told the School Board on Tuesday that he and his leadership team had begun reviewing budgets for the coming academic year, and “prioritized teacher salaries as being critical for our district to succeed and move forward.”

The district should receive added flexible funds because lawmakers increased the base student allocation by $75 per student, he noted. The plan, Browning said, is to use that money to bolster pay as much as possible before looking at increasing spending in other areas.

“We’re starting there first,” he said, referring to salaries.

His announcement came during a conversation about how the district might improve academic offerings in its schools. Board vice chairwoman Colleen Beaudoin had called for a future workshop to discuss the district’s plans for magnets and other programs that attract students, suggesting the need for a more streamlined and direct approach to improving student outcomes in part by offering better models.

Browning responded by saying his administration continues to explore options after the board rejected his plans to close and consolidate some schools, using the savings to amp up programs such as Cambridge and create new magnets such as a STEAM school in New Port Richey. Without the savings, he said, the district doesn’t have enough money to do it all, and the pressure has been mounting to boost teacher pay in order to keep educators from fleeing to other districts with higher salaries.

“It weighs heavy on me,” Browning said. “I know there is so much we need to do. We just don’t have the resources to do it.”

His move to put salaries first on the budget list marks a change in approach. The district in past years has plugged all its other budget needs, such as rising insurance and utility costs, and then put whatever was left into wages.

That has meant smaller increases than in other districts, putting Pasco behind in competitive pay rates. Many teachers have complained to the board, and told stories of colleagues departing to work in Hillsborough or Pinellas counties, where paychecks are higher.

United School Employees of Pasco leaders have repeatedly urged the district to focus on salaries before a major exodus occurs — including Tuesday night.

“More needs to be done in solidifying Pasco’s stature in giving quality education to our students,” USEP president Don Peace told the board.

Board chairwoman Alison Crumbley praised Browning for his plan to put more attention toward pay, saying it would “serve everybody to the best.”

The board has to approve a new budget by September. New contract talks are expected to begin in June.


ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Henry "Shake" Washington is running for Hillsborough County School Board for the second time since 2018.
  2. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  3. Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco, on the left, present their latest pay request to the district's bargaining team during talks on Oct. 24, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Officials from both sides say a deal could emerge as early as next week.
  4. A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Olivia Pruna, a student at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center, practices with the school's drum line last year. The Pinellas County school district is asking parents and others for suggestions on ways to improve exceptional student education in the county. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  6. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  7. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  8. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  9. Cotee River Elementary student Darrell Jones waves his American flag during the school's Veterans Day program.
    The School Board is scheduled to vote on the calendar next week.
  10. Pasco eSchool principal JoAnne Glenn is surprised by school district officials who announced she is their 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A discussion with Pasco County Principal of the Year JoAnne Glenn.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement