TAMPA — Hillsborough County teachers will get a raise this year.
The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a contract agreement between the district and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association that includes a pay boost for teachers and administrators that averages out to a 4 percent increase. The raises are retroactive to July 1.
The agreement includes three tiers of exceptional student education paraprofessionals who work with students with disabilities. Job descriptions for those positions will come to the board for approval soon.
Additionally, some employees, including licensed practical nurses and bilingual aides, will move up two levels on the salary scale, the equivalent of a 10 percent increase.
The agreement came to the board after it was easily ratified by the union last week; more than 95 percent of the 20,000 employees who voted supported the contract.
“We think it’s a great agreement,” HCTA Executive Director Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins said. “We are very pleased on behalf of all of the employees, especially (with) what we’ve been able to do with the pay scale for the teachers.”
Deputy Superintendent Dan Valdez updated the board on the new salary scale the district will switch to next year that ties raises to evaluations. Teachers in their first, second or third year on the job will switch automatically to the new scale. Those on their fourth year or higher will be able to decide whether they will move to the new scale or stay on the old one.
“It really is a great thing that we’ve been able to accomplish,” Valdez said. “A lot of hard work went into it.”
Board member Doretha Edgecomb lauded the efforts of the district and union negotiators.
“I am especially pleased with the work you have done with the ESE aides,” Edgecomb said. “It says we are really committed to making sure we have the very best people in our classrooms.”
In other action, board members had a heated discussion about whether to apply for a sex education grant the Florida Department of Education received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida is one of 19 states to receive the five-year grant, which offers a program called the Healthy School Project at no cost.
The board eventually voted 4-3 to discuss the grant at its next board meeting.
The board also officially appointed Jim Porter, of Adams and Reese LLP, as its new attorney, effective Thursday. The board will pay him $8,000 per month. His payment will be reviewed after six months.
Tom Gonzalez previously served as attorney for the school district and the board. Gonzalez will now only serve the district.
The board approved the proposed site for a new school, “Middle School TT,” which is slated to open in the 2016-17 school year in south Hillsborough County.
The proposed site is on Balm Road near U.S. Road 301 in the Riverview area.