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  1. Pasco

Pasco School Board approves new employee contracts, awaits union vote

The Pasco County School Board unanimously approved its proposed new contract agreement with employees Tuesday evening.

The deal provides average raises of 3 percent, as well as creates a new voluntary shared sick leave plan. Board vice chairwoman Joanne Hurley also noted that the district continues to pay full medical benefits for employees.

"I don't want people to just take that lightly, because we may not be in the position to do that every year," Hurley said.

United School Employees of Pasco president Kenny Blankenship thanked the board for its support of what he called a "fair agreement."

He noted that it was unprecedented for the board to vote on the negotiated deal before employee ratification, for which the USEP executive board has recommended approval.

"I have heard very few complaints about what we have done," Blankenship said. "There have been some, but very few."

The USEP plans to hold its vote on Sept. 15, with ballots counted on Sept. 17. Find the contract amendments on the district's website.

The board also approved raises Tuesday for non-bargaining employees and administrators. Assistant superintendent Kevin Shibley said the added pay "will be in the first paychecks of the employees" in September.

Board member Cynthia Armstrong said she was pleased to make that arrangement. "It is important for them to get that pay raise in their first check," she said.