© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pinellas teachers will get raises after a long-awaited contract is approved

Woman wearing glasses sits in a chair at a panel desk.
Pinellas County School Board
Board Member Caprice Edmond voted in support of the contract, but voiced concern.

The agreement provides an average raise of 3.25% and covers increases in health care and pension costs.

Pinellas County educators finally have a contract for the school year — even though there's just over a month left.

School board members voted unanimously in support of the deal Tuesday.

The agreement provides an average raise of 3.25% and covers increases in health care and pension costs.

Paula Texel is associate superintendent of human resources for Pinellas County Schools. She told members the contract also includes an additional 15 hours of paid planning time.

"As you know, teachers do spend a great amount of time (working) outside of their hours,” she said. “We were very happy to be able to provide this."

The salary increase will be retroactively paid through July 1, 2021, and the additional planning time will be back paid through January 2022. Employees will receive their raises and retroactive checks on April 22, Texel added.

READ MORE: Pinellas teachers approve tentative contract

But some say it doesn't do enough to compensate longtime teachers.

Board Member Caprice Edmond voted in support, but voiced concern.

"In the future, I would like to see consideration for additional increases to veteran pay as deemed appropriate by law," she said.

Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association president Nancy Velardi has said that veteran teachers need more support, or they may decide to leave the profession — or teach in an area that can better compensate them.

The tentative agreement would give teachers on annual contracts raises of between about $700 and nearly $1,900, Velardi previously told WUSF. But salaried teachers who are "grandfathered" in will receive about $1,600.

During the negotiation process, the board failed to support longevity supplements, which would help increase longtime educators' pay. These supplemental payments would be given based on each teacher’s years of service, and increase accordingly, Velardi said.

“I believe now with the teacher shortage and with so many leaving the profession, it’s imperative that we start implementing some practices to keep teachers in their jobs,” she previously told WUSF.

Velardi plans to press for higher pay for those individuals next year.

In Pasco County, school district employees are also negotiating their contracts.

The Tampa Bay Times reports representatives of the United School Employees of Pasco did not accept the district's offer of a one-time, four percent supplement during negotiations Monday.

Instead, they want smaller supplements and pay increases that would stretch into future years.

In addition, support personnel are seeking a 4.25% raise for all workers, with bus drivers getting a 7% bump.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.