Pasco County Schools’ teachers and non-instructional staff have ratified a contract resulting in one-time supplements.
Under the agreement, teachers will receive a one-time lump sum supplement equal to 4% of their salary, and the base teacher salary will be raised to $45,200 in accordance with state statute, according to information posted on the union’s website.
The non-instructional personnel also will receive a 4% lump sum payment. But the agreement also sets minimum amounts of the supplements for non-instructional staff. For those working six hours or more per day, the minimum supplement would be $700; for those working fewer than six hours per day, the minimum would be $350.
Additionally, the agreements include increases to the district’s contributions toward employee health insurance and Florida Retirement System benefits for the 2021-2022 school year, and nominal salary adjustments to teacher salaries based on a small increase to the state’s Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSIA) categorical, according to the district’s news release.
The United School Employees of Pasco (USEP) and the school district also have agreed to return to the bargaining table immediately, to begin negotiating additional salary improvements for 2022-2023.
On the Instructional contract, out of the 2,686 votes cast, 92% favored the contract. On the non-instructional side, 91% of the 1,998 votes cast favored the contract, according to the USEP website.
Pasco County School Board members approved the agreement in their May 17 meeting, taking action then to avoid a delay in issuing the supplements to employees.
Employees are expected to receive the supplements on June 17, according to a school district news release.
“This is very good news for thousands of employees who have been waiting to receive these supplements,” Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning, said in the release. “This is extremely well-deserved.”
In addition to the supplements that were approved this year, the Pasco County School Board is pursuing a ballot initiative asking voters to improve a property tax increase to support pay raises.
The school board voted on May 3 to place the initiative on the Aug. 23 primary ballot.
The referendum question asks voters to approve up to a maximum of 1 mil in funding to be designated for improving pay for teachers, bus drivers and other district personnel, except for administrators.
At an April 5 school board workshop on the topic, it was estimated that a 1 mil increase would yield an average instructional boost of $4,000; for non-instructional, $1,700.
District calculations show that Pasco’s median home cost of $325,000, and assuming a $25,000 homestead exemption, a property owner would pay $300 more per year, if the increase is 1 mil.
Specifically, the ballot question asks for a yes or no vote on whether to levy an additional tax, not to exceed 1 mil, beginning July 1, 2023 and ending no later than June 30, 2027.
The proceeds, according to the ballot question, will be used “for essential operating expenses to maintain salaries competitive with the market, attract and retain high-quality teachers, bus drivers and other non-administrative school support employees.”
There also is a requirement for “annual reporting to Pasco County taxpayers for transparency of the use of these funds.”
The board’s vote to pursue up to a full mil, followed persistent requests by Don Peace, president of USEP. The union leader has repeatedly cited the loss of personnel to other districts that pay better.
Peace said the district also needs another source of money to fill vacancies, to reduce the burden on existing staff, and to attract quality personnel to the district.
The union leader also has pledged USEP’s full support in efforts to secure passage of the referendum and, during a recent school board meeting, assured taxpayers that if the referendum is successful, the union will be paying close attention to how the proceeds are spent.
Published June 01, 2022