For years, Pasco County school district employees complained that they were among the lowest paid of their peers throughout the Tampa Bay region.
The school board on Tuesday approved agreements providing average raises of 3.5% for all teachers and school support workers, adding to the nearly 9% raises they enacted earlier in the year from new property tax referendum revenue. The move affects about 11,000 employees.
Add in last year’s 5.4% salary hikes, and suddenly, “we’ve gone from eighth or ninth in our nine-district area to second in salaries,” behind Pinellas County, United School Employees of Pasco president Don Peace said after the board vote. “I think that’s good for employees.”
The improved pay has attracted educators from nearby districts that Pasco now can compete with.
“We have seen a pretty strong influx of Hillsborough teachers,” Peace said.
Hillsborough voters rejected a 2022 property tax referendum that would have boosted teacher pay there. The Hillsborough board is considering whether to renew its request for the added funds.
Pasco’s successful 2022 referendum generates money to supplement salaries for nonadministrative employees. On Tuesday, the Pasco board approved a separate item giving 3.5% raises to administrators and other workers not covered by collectively bargained contracts.
Board members said they aim to compensate workers as well as they can within the district’s financial limits.
“We are fulfilling our commitment to increasing base salaries,” board member Colleen Beaudoin said.
The teacher and support staff contracts face one more hurdle before taking effect. Union members will vote on whether to ratify the deals for a week beginning Wednesday, with the final count scheduled for Nov. 16.
Peace anticipated approval.
“I think we have one of the better settlements in the state,” he said. “I think that we did very well.”
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