Manatee County teachers, paraprofessionals to see salary increases under tentative agreement

BRADENTON -- For the third consecutive year, Manatee County teachers and paraprofessionals will see a slight salary increase, based on the tentative contract agreement the school district released Wednesday.

Teachers and paraprofessionals won't see an increase in health insurance premiums this year, as the district is planning to contribute more to the health insurance fund to offset the premium increase.

Returning teachers will be bumped up a salary step and will see a three-quarter percent salary increase. Returning paraprofessional will be bumped up a salary step, and paraprofessional at the top of the salary schedule will receive an hourly increase of 73 cents.

When taking into account the salary increase and the money the district is putting toward health care costs, the overall increase for teachers will be approximately 3.37 percent, according to the district. The overall increase for paraprofessionals will be 6.25 percent.

Teachers and paraprofessionals in the Manatee Education Association still need to be ratify the agreement before it heads to the Manatee County School Board for final approval.

"The MEA and School Board bargaining teams worked together to maximize the use of the funds available for teachers and paraprofessionals. This agreement represents the results of those efforts," MEA President Pat Barber said in a statement. "We realize we have not made up for past pay cuts, but this agreement keeps teachers and paraprofessionals from falling further behind."

If approved, the salary increases will be retroactive to July 1.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter@MeghinDelaney.