Times Staff Writer
After months of back and forth, the Pinellas County School Board will hold a special meeting Friday to consider a new proposed contract with the district's teachers union.
Teachers ratified the agreement Thursday, with 82 percent of the district's instructional staff voting for it. The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, which represents about 7,600 teachers, counted 4,464 ballots.
Last month, 77 percent of teachers overwhelmingly rejected a previous agreement. The new deal restores previously omitted language regarding physical education specialists and guidance counselors, keeps previously negotiated insurance benefits and salary increases averaging 4 percent, and protects the sanctity of lesson planning time by establishing a maximum of two mandatory meetings a week for all teachers.
"I'm happy that it passed, but it's a small step in the right direction," said PCTA president Mike Gandolfo. "I'm hoping to continue the (bargaining) process and keep refining our contract until we get things right."
District deputy superintendent Bill Corbett released a statement following the release of Thursday's results, saying the agreement would "provide Pinellas County teachers with a well-deserved pay increase and maintain their health benefits." He added: "The bargaining process has allowed the school district and PCTA to make improvements to our teacher contract and we look forward to continued partnership."
The School Board will meet at district headquarters in Largo at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast and live-streamed.
Contact Colleen Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8643. Follow @Colleen_Wright.