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Pasco school employees, district tentatively agree on 3.5% pay raise

Employees and the school board must approve the deal before it takes effect.
 
Sunlake High School chemistry teacher Dave Maggi, right, orients his students during the first day of school in Pasco County on Aug. 10, 2021, in Land O' Lakes. Under a tentative agreement reached this week, Pasco school employees, on average, would get a 3.5% raise this year.
Sunlake High School chemistry teacher Dave Maggi, right, orients his students during the first day of school in Pasco County on Aug. 10, 2021, in Land O' Lakes. Under a tentative agreement reached this week, Pasco school employees, on average, would get a 3.5% raise this year. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Oct. 17, 2023|Updated Oct. 17, 2023

The Pasco County school district and its employees have reached a tentative agreement that would raise pay by 3.5% if implemented.

The increase for teachers would come on top of an average 8.9% raise made possible by a property tax to support teacher pay approved last year by voters. And it follows a 5.4% raise in 2022.

“From our standpoint it’s never enough,” said Jeff Larsen, director of operations for the United School Employees of Pasco. “We know certainly that our teachers and school-related personnel are working very hard and we wanted to put money in their pockets as soon as we possibly could. So we are pleased with the timing of this outcome.”

Larsen’s organization bargains on behalf of 5,380 teachers and 3,919 other school employees. Monday’s agreement covers both groups. It must be ratified by union members and approved by the school board before it takes effect.

“We’re very excited that over the course of two years, employees have received a salary improvement of over 17%,” Larsen said.

The plan calls for a starting yearly salary of $49,000 for teachers. That compares with $47,500 in a contract recently negotiated in Hillsborough County and $51,162 in Pinellas County.

Of the three Tampa Bay area districts, Hillsborough is the only one that has yet to win voter approval for the special property tax for schools. The Hillsborough school board was scheduled Tuesday to vote on a resolution that would place such a measure on the ballot in November 2024.