Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
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Union proposes at least $2,000 more per year for teachers

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Published:   |   Updated: February 9, 2014 at 11:53 AM

BROOKSVILLE - Under a new proposal for teacher raises submitted to the local school district, Hernando County teachers would receive salary boosts of $2,000 to $2,550.

The proposal by the teachers' union addresses a performance pay schedule for current employees for the 2013-14 academic year, and step money automatically paid out this September.

All returning employees would have an opportunity to change assignments starting in the 2014-15 school year based on teacher evaluations, the proposal says.

If the plan is accepted without revision:

??466 teachers earning salaries between $35,350 and $36,850 would receive $2,250 to $2,550;

??582 teachers earning between $38,000 and $39,200 would get $2,000 to $2,300;

??428 teachers earning between $41,200 and $45,250 would receive $2,100 to $2,150 in raises;

??192 teachers earning $45,250 would get $2,250.

If the proposal is adopted, teachers on a base Masters of Arts pay schedule can expect to receive an additional $2,500 from the governor's allocation.

Hernando Classroom Teachers Association President Jo Ann Hartge said the association will hold an all-day meeting with district officials Feb. 20 to flesh out the details of the proposal.

"We're hoping we can hammer it out," she said. "We have one of our executive directors coming down to explain (the proposal to members)."

Hartge said although the proposed performance pay schedule would apply to all groups, those with a tenure contract can keep their current pay schedules.

The proposal was submitted Jan. 22, she said, and follows a gridlock in negotiations before the school system's winter break.

Between the governor's raises and longevity supplements, the total cost of the proposal to the district is estimated at about $4.48 million.

Teachers in the district can expect to receive a total of about $3.68 million in raises for the year under the most recent proposal.

The cost of automatic step increases for this school year totals a little less than $1.81 million.

A previous option rejected by the HCTA included contract removal of step increases and would have added between $1,000 and $2,100 to salary schedules depending on one's position and number of years with the district.

Hartge said in December the HCTA is not willing to remove automatic step pay increases from teacher contracts.

Teachers union presidents in Pasco and Pinellas counties said their union members do not receive automatic step increases.

The state Legislature has dedicated $480 million for teacher pay raises, according to the state, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported Florida had the second-largest increase in education spending this year compared to other states.

Hernando is one of 11 school districts in the state - and the only one in the Tampa Bay area - yet to finalize teacher raise negotiations with union bargaining teams.

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