Raises unlikely this year in Pasco County Schools

Pasco County School Board members have expressed a desire to give teachers a raise, but according to Superintendent Kurt Browning, there’s no money available to make that happen.

Browning’s remarks came during a budget workshop last week in the board room at the district’s headquarters in Land O’ Lakes.

Olga Swinson, the district’s chief financial officer, provided a run-through of budget numbers for board members — noting that these numbers will change before the board’s next budget workshop, which is set for July 24.

However, based on what the district knows now, there’s a projected deficit of about $1.2 million, she said.

Pasco County Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning
(Randy Underhill)

Based on that, the district will have to find cuts to balance the budget before the board takes its first vote on the budget July 31, Browning said.

“I think what we’re all looking for here is where we can find money for teacher raises because we all said that was a priority for us,” said board member Colleen Beaudoin.

Swinson responded: “Obviously, we didn’t get enough money for salary raises.”

Beaudoin noted: “I’m concerned that we’re losing good people.”

The district needs to look at such issues as how much it costs to hire, onboard, train and support new staff when it loses current employees, Beaudoin said.

“What’s our risk/reward? What’s our return on investment?” the school board member asked.

The district also needs to consider issues such as “the time it takes to get someone to their peak performance,” Beaudoin continued. “Not increasing salaries is hurting us in other ways.”

Board vice chairwoman Alison Crumbley agreed: “It has a snowball effect.”

Browning said: “I would love to find money for salary increases for instructional, SRPs, administrators, everybody.”

But, the superintendent said the state did not provide enough money to make that happen.

He noted that Hillsborough County’s school district is providing large salary increases, but it is cutting hundreds of jobs to cover the costs.

“I, as a superintendent, am not ready to make a recommendation to this board that we start cutting positions, critical positions in the schools, to give raises to remaining staff,” Browning said.

“We’re not cutting positions this year. Everybody, and I’ll just say it, ought to be thankful they have a job, based on the funding we received from the state.

“It’s unfortunate that they did not provide the dollars that we needed in order to continue to improve salaries,” the superintendent said.

State lawmakers claim that they provided record funding for school districts, Browning said, “what they stop short of saying is they’re also telling you how to spend it.

“If you look at that, almost $4 million is going to the safe school allocation and the mental health,” he said.

Plus, about $5.3 million of the state funding is going to charter schools.

Browning said the district’s salaries have improved in recent years, but the funding is not there to improve them again this year.

But, he acknowledged Beaudoin’s and Crumbley’s concerns.

“We know we’ve got to get our salaries competitive. I know that,” Browning said.

Published June 27, 2018

Comments

  1. Brian Veatch says:

    Pasco continues to be one of the lowest paid counties in the state. Somehow, every other district around Pasco has figured out how to pay their teachers more. Why would teachers want to work in Pasco when they could drive north, east, or south and make thousands more? I taught in Pasco for many years and worked with some incredible people but wish the school district could figure out how to budget for competitive wages. The student’s of Pasco deserve it.

  2. Shawn Kilmer says:

    As a single parent of three working a profession that requires many hours outside of the job to accomplish great things, it’s sad that teachers HAVE to find other means of income and work on their time off. Intentions and desires are great but they don’t pay the bills, they don’t offer Vinding opportunities to families, and they don’t make you feel appreciated. There’s always a way and hopefully Pasco can find the best way to meet the most need and retain its teachers not students. As stated it does trickle down. Sometimes putting kids first is done in different ways other than just providing new resources and supports. Sometimes it’s actually just giving the resources that are already there, like teachers, a chance to work and get the job done. Innovating and cutting edge technology and resources will never out perform what teachers can actually do in their classroom knowing they not only do what they love but it also provides a better life for them as well. Not just a sense of “doing good”. Love my job and this county but we feel the burden that we have chosen to carry while here.

  3. Lori Renee says:

    He’s not ready to start cutting positions? My own school lost 11 last year and three this year. My sons’ high school lost four this year. They ARE still making cuts, which will result in larger class sizes, which is NOT ‘best practices’ for students. Beaudoin is right, we are losing some of our best talent to neighboring counties who have managed, despite budget cuts, to pay well and give raises.

  4. How about cutting some of those supervisor positions at the district office. And, why is the district spending millions towards mental health or paying for equipment and uniforms for school security, can’t they just buy their own and claim it on their taxes.

  5. Tim Acosta says:

    Where the heck are all my taxes going of they aren’t paying teachers or deputies. I pay taxes in this country that are the same if not more than Hillsborough County. Maybe it’s the for someone to complete a head to toe audit of where all the money is going. Usually if something stinks it because something is rotten somewhere.

  6. TLombardo says:

    I am a bus driver for Pasco County Schools and I have had the opportunity to hear lots of information about our surrounding counties and their raises. Unfortunately, with their raises, the health insurance cost off-sets those thousands more that they are making. If you look into their contracts, they are not getting the benefits that Pasco is getting. We have to look at other ways to make this process less painful. Getting a proactive Governor and not voting for Senators who will push our money to Charters is a start. I know that the district will do the right thing and try to give us something of value during this difficult year. Pasco is continually expanding and we are going to need more teachers and school related personal to provide services to our students. Please be vigilant in praying for funds to come into all of our Florida districts.

  7. Kathy Young Clark says:

    “… ought to be thankful they have a job, based on the funding we received from the state.” This statement irks me. So many of our teachers (and support staff) feel undervalued especially with the new evaluation models (a 30-minute observation in the classroom by sometimes biased individuals does not truly reflect the craft and expertise that a teacher practices throughout the entire year). Principals need to be in the classrooms more and share the learning and teaching to really see the tremendous value and impact their teachers are making. Excellent teachers are leaving the profession in droves and it’s just not about the money. We need to bring back respect to the profession. When teachers speak up, don’t pat them on the head and say, “Well at least you have a job.” Yes, teachers are thankful they have a job, but that statement is condescending. Teaching is not just a job, teaching is a passion. Next time words can be chosen more carefully, “We truly value our teachers and support staff for the sacrifices and dedication they make every day because without them our state’s budget could not support and keep public education alive. If we want to keep public education as an institution in our country, we need to do something now. Don’t wait to lose the best of our best.

  8. When is Browning’s term up. Might be time for new blood.

  9. Dawn Cefalu says:

    Last year 0.75 Percent raise for Instructional Staff was way below inflation costs. The fact that staff is sitting in the position to not get a raise this year is so sad. Consumer prices in the United States increased 2.4 percent. So if inflation is 2.4 Percent. Employee Raises should be the same or higher based on performance. Florida Ranks 42 or worse depending on data sources for teacher pay. Something has to change. All of this talk of how fantastic our economy sure has not trickled down to teachers. Remember when people brag about the economy they are not considering all factors. If wages are stagnant you are not benefiting! Get out and vote everyone! Write to congress, senate, etc…

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