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Pasco teacher contract talks postponed

The sides have not set a new date for negotiations.

Pasco County teachers hoping to know what their raises might look like before leaving for winter break might have to wait.

Representatives for the United School Employees of Pasco and the district administration have canceled their Tuesday evening bargaining session after one of the lead negotiators fell ill.

They have not decided when they will next meet. But with the holiday break just two weeks away, it’s not certain that they will get back to the table before 2020.

The sides have been looking for ways to bring “meaningful” raises to teachers, whose salaries are considered not competitive with neighboring districts that frequently lure Pasco employees away.

The administration has proposed a controversial plan that would have middle and high school teachers take an additional class period per day, allowing the district to eliminate about 250 teaching positions and using the money to boost wages close to 8 percent.

The USEP has rejected that idea, after taking a survey of teachers and finding little support for it.

Since then, the sides have held few sessions while working independently to see if they can find money in some other part of the budget.

Negotiators for school-related personnel, such as bus drivers and instructional aides, meanwhile have already completed their contract talks. They plan a ratification vote for Dec. 17.