BROOKSVILLE — Following months of negotiations between the Hernando County School District and its employee unions, the School Board last week unanimously approved pay increases for employees across the district.
"It was a priority of the entire negotiating team to work together to increase salaries for all staff," said John Stratton, executive director of business services for the district. "We know that to draw new talent, as well as keep our current skilled workforce, we have to offer competitive salaries."
The new starting salary for beginning teachers in Hernando County is $38,700, an uptick from last year when it was just more than $36,876, according to the district.
Along with a 2.75 percent increase to base salary, teachers will receive performance-based bonuses set at $100 for those rated as "highly effective" and $75 for those rated as "effective."
Kathy Marcucci, the bargaining chair for Hernando Classroom Teachers’ Association, the union for teachers, said she is happy with the results of this year’s negotiations.
"Everybody got a fairly decent raise," she said, noting the higher rate for first-year teachers. "It makes us competitive with other counties."
School administrators will receive the same bonuses — determined by testing data, evaluations and professional development — as well as a market adjustment.
District administrators will get a step increase for years of service, plus a market adjustment. The changes will increase all administrator salaries by $1,200.
Non-instructional staff and managerial employees will receive an annual step increase plus 40 cents more an hour, making for an average salary increase between $1,195 and $1,594 annually.
Bus driver paychecks will grow, too. According to the district, they will receive a step increase and an additional $1.10 an hour. All drivers will see an increase of between $1.30 and $1.50 per hour, based on years of service.
In an effort to recruit and retain school speech and language pathologists, the district nearly doubled their supplement, which now totals $9,170.
"In recent years, we have had to make a concerted effort to improve the financial health of our school district," Hernando Superintendent Lori Romano said in a press release. "It is gratifying to be able to give back to our staff who have stayed with us through those lean times."
Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected]tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.