Manatee schools reach tentative agreement with teachers union. Here are the details

The School District of Manatee County and the Manatee Education Association have reached a tentative agreement for teacher and paraprofessional contracts in the 2019-2020 school year.

According to a joint news release published on Tuesday, the organizations reached an agreement on Monday. That agreement faces a review by teachers, paraprofessionals and the school board.

“Reaching this agreement was made more difficult due to the challenges presented by the decades of poor funding provided by the (Florida) Legislature and the manner in which the funding has been allocated,” Pat Barber, the union president, said in a prepared statement.

“The theme has been doing more with less for a very long time and this agreement reflects that,” she continued. “We came to an agreement that maximized the dollars available.”

The news release highlighted several aspects of the teachers’ agreement:

  • A four-level advancement for teachers on the performance schedule who received a rating of highly effective.
  • A three-level advancement for teachers on the performance schedule who received an effective rating.
  • A four-level advancement for teachers on the grandfathered salary schedule.
  • A cost-of-living adjustment of $100 added to each level of the salary schedule for all teachers.
  • A longevity supplement for teachers who have completed 16 or 25 years with the school district.

The release also underscored portions of the agreement for paraprofessionals:

  • A movement of two steps on the salary schedule for all eligible paraprofessionals.
  • A percent equal to two steps for paraprofessionals who reached the top of the salary schedule.

There were no changes to benefits in either agreement, nor was there an increase to the health insurance premium, according to Tuesday’s release.

“The tentative agreement reached Monday represents another significant step forward for our teachers and paraprofessionals in terms of having highly competitive compensation compared to their peers around the state,” Superintendent Cynthia Saunders said in a prepared statement.

“I want to thank the bargaining teams that made this tentative agreement possible, and I am extremely proud of the hard work being done by our teachers and paraprofessionals in our classrooms each and every school day,” she concluded.

Giuseppe Sabella, education reporter for the Bradenton Herald, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He spent time at the Independent Florida Alligator, the Gainesville Sun and the Florida Times-Union. His coverage of education in Manatee County earned him a first place prize in the Florida Society of News Editors’ 2019 Journalism Contest. Giuseppe also spent one year in Charleston, W.Va., earning a first-place award for investigative reporting.