BRADENTON -- The Manatee County School District will spend more than $4.9 million this year on raises and benefits for all its employees, according to contract approvals set for Tuesday's school board meeting.
If approved by the board on Tuesday, all raises will be retroactive to July 1, the first of the fiscal year. Four different agreements will cover all of the district employees in one form or another, the third year the district has been able to provide some type of salary increase for employees, deputy superintendent of operations Don Hall said.
"We want to continue to show we appreciate our staff and our employees," Hall said.
The salary increases were included in this year's budget, Hall said.
For teachers, the total salary package equals a 3.37 percent increase for all teachers through a number of different benefits. The district will contribute $2.4 million to the health insurance fund specifically for teachers, will bump all returning teachers up a "step" or increment in the salary schedule and then apply a three-quarter percent raise to that salary figure.
"It's really an increment of $300 for all returning teachers," said MEA union head Pat Barber.
The district will also provide extra benefits for teachers who have been in the district for 16 years and for teachers who have been in the district for 25 years.
For paraprofessionals, the district will approve a "step" increase for all returning paraprofessionals and will award paraprofessionals at the top of the step scale an additional $1,000, an additional 73 cents per hour, Barber said. The district will also contribute $400,000 to the health insurance fund for paraprofessionals.
Although the needle keeps moving in the right direction, Barber said the district still has not returned to salary levels from previous years, before the district cut salaries twice.
For employees in the AFSCME union -- which covers supports workers such as bus drivers and janitors -- the district will bump all employees up one step on the scale system. Employees who hit the top of the scale system will receive a three percent increase. AFSCME employees will not see an increase in their insurance premiums, either. The AFSCME agreement will be retroactive to July 1 and will not include those hired after July 1.
The district will spend an additional $975,000 to provide salary enhancements for all other employees covered under the supervisory, administrative, managerial and professional categories.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.