Education

Manatee schools, unions reach tentative salary agreements

In this file photo, Manatee County School Board members listen as the 2016-17 budget expenditures and revenues are presented during a workshop Monday at the School Support Center in Bradenton. The board will soon be asked to approve salary increases
In this file photo, Manatee County School Board members listen as the 2016-17 budget expenditures and revenues are presented during a workshop Monday at the School Support Center in Bradenton. The board will soon be asked to approve salary increases gjefferies@bradenton.com

Raises are on the way for Manatee County School District employees, as long as agreements reached with two unions are approved by the school board.

The district announced tentative agreements with both the Manatee Education Association — which represents teachers and paraprofessionals — and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees on Tuesday. AFSCME represents maintenance, custodial, food service and transportation employees.

“We were able to reach this agreement knowing that the employees working every day with Manatee County’s students deserve so much more than what was made available for school districts through the legislative budget process,” MEA president Pat Barber said in a statement.

The agreements will go before the school board for final approval at a later date and once approved will be retroactive to July 1, the start of the district’s fiscal year. The district did not immediately have a date when the agreements would go before the board for approval.

All AFSCME workers would get a 2.5 percent raise, and food service employees who meet the criteria to be a designee would also get an additional 60-cent stipend per hour. New language was also added to clarify call-back hours for transportation employees, according to the information provided Tuesday.

The district did not have an initial estimate of what the AFSCME enhancements totaled.

For both unions, there would be no changes to the health insurance plan benefits. The district health insurance premium structure is moving from three tiers to four tiers, but no further additional information was provided. The district did not include whether the premiums would be increasing. The changes take effect on Dec. 1 for the upcoming year.

The teacher and paraprofessional agreement gets more complicated because of differing pay scales.

When Florida introduced performance pay, teachers who were already working were able to choose to stay on the old pay scale or move to a performance pay scale. If teachers chose to move, the move was permanent. Any teacher hired after 2011 was immediately put on the performance pay schedule.

Teachers are evaluated and given rankings of highly effective, effective, developing, needs improvement or unsatisfactory. Developing is available to teachers with less than three years experience. The rankings apply to all teachers regardless of pay scale.

Teacher evaluations and rankings from the last year have not yet been finalized, officials said Tuesday, so teachers do not know yet how they are rated and how the salary agreements would affect them.

All Manatee County teachers who are on the old, or the grandfathered, pay scale, and were rated anything other than unsatisfactory will be moved up three slots on the pay scale, equaling approximately $900. Because the evaluations are not finalized, the district could not immediately say how many teachers that affected.

Teachers on the grandfather scale who were rated unsatisfactory — the lowest performance level — will not get any increase. The district also could not immediately say how many teachers on the grandfather scale were rated unsatisfactory.

Teachers on the performance pay scale rated highly effective will move up three levels, also an approximately $900 increase, but slightly higher than the increase teachers still on the grandfathered pay scale will receive, to comply with state law. The district could not immediately say how many teachers that included.

Teachers on the performance pay scale rated effective would move up two levels, an approximate $600 increase. The district could not immediately say how many teachers that included.

Teachers on the performance pay scale who were rated anything lower than effective are not eligible to move up on the pay scale, according to state statute. The district could not immediately say how many teachers that included.

Teachers who have worked in the district for 16 to 25 consecutive years would get a longevity supplement, a long-standing district practice. The district did not immediately say how much the supplement was or how many teachers would receive the supplement.

All returning paraprofessionals would move up one salary step. The district did not immediately say how much a one-step movement equated to in terms of dollars.

Paraprofessionals who have already topped out on the salary scale would receive a 2 percent increase to their salary. The district did not immediately say what a 2 percent increase would equate to or how many paraprofessionals were at the top of the salary scale.

Meghin Delaney: 941-745-7081, @MeghinDelaney

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