BRADENTON -- After the district and the Manatee Education Association reached a tentative agreement on pay increases in October, teachers got a first look at what the pay increase would mean for them if the agreement is ratified.
Teachers and union members were sent information this week, said Pat Barber, the head of MEA. Union members are set to vote on the tentative agreement from Nov. 10 to 14, which includes an overall 2 percent increase in the amount of money the district pays to teachers and paraprofessionals. The 2 percent increase does not mean every teacher and paraprofessional gets a 2 percent raise. The lowest possible annual increase for a teacher is $544, and the lowest possible increase for paraprofessionals is $400, according to the district and MEA officials.
If approved, the agreement will go before the school board for final approval and the pay increases will be retroactive to July 1.
Since the tentative agreement was announced, Barber and Don Hall, deputy superintendent of operations, have been visiting schools to inform staff about the agreement.
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"We're working on the education process," Barber said.
Understanding this year's contract isn't as simple as in previous years, Barber said, since the salary schedule is being made compliant with new Florida performance pay laws.
"We've been fielding phone calls all day," Barber said Tuesday.
She said the timing of the information being sent out was to make sure teachers and paraprofessionals had all the information before the ratification vote, and was not meant to coincide with Election Day, with voters deciding between incumbent Julie Aranibar and former longtime head of Manatee Technical Institute Mary Cantrell.
"We never even thought about that," Barber said.
The district is also contributing $1.6 million to help offset an increase in health insurance premiums and is putting $5.9 million into the health insurance fund reserve for the 2014-15 year.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.