Manatee school board OKs raises for teachers, other workers

September 10, 2013 

MANATEE — The Manatee County School Board has approved pay increases for teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians and other school district staff.

The board approved new contracts with the Manatee Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

This is the first time in four years the district has been able to reach a collaborative agreement with the Manatee Education Association.

The three-year contracts will provide teachers with pay raises based on experience.

The funding for the pay raises comes from $6.3 million in additional state funding proposed by Gov. Rick Scott. AFCSME employees will receive a 2.12 percent pay increase with their new three-year contracts. Paraprofessionals, which includes teaching aides, will get a $381 a year raise.

The pay raises were approved before the budget for the 2013-14 budget year was approved. The settlement with the Manatee Education Association was designed to allow movement on the pay scale based on years of experience. The salary schedule was frozen in February 2012.

The settlement says that teachers eligible to move three steps on the salary schedule will get a minimum raise of $1,750, and teachers on top of the pay scale will receive $1,750 as a one-time stipend.

Bill Vogel, the chief negotiator for the contracts, told the Bradenton Herald that about 75 teachers in the district will get less than a $1,750 raise to start, although they will still see the pay increase. The raises will show up on district paychecks beginning in October. “Employee organizations met with district staff to arrive at an agreement, which was mutually beneficial for the teachers and the staff and the long-tem best interest for the school district and the students of Manatee County,” Vogel said.

The school board is expected to consider a 2 percent increase for non-union district employees, excluding senior staff.

Superintendent Rick Mills said Tuesday the board is expected to vote on ay raises for non-union employees at its next regular meeting.

The approval of the new contracts with the Manatee Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees was unanimous. “Reaching collaborative agreements with the MEA and AFSCME is a big step forward for our employees and for our community,” Mills said in a press release sent out Monday evening. “It is a top priority of this school district to reinvest in our employees to help restore some of the personal sacrifices they have had to make on behalf of the district during the last several years.”

Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.

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