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Pinellas teachers in line for 5.6 percent pay bump

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Published:   |   Updated: September 4, 2013 at 06:56 AM

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LARGO — Teachers in Pinellas County could get an average 5.6 percent salary increase this school year, and starting teachers’ salaries could increase to $40,000 under a tentative agreement between the teachers union and the school district.

Still to be resolved, though, are questions about how teachers are paid for extra tutoring efforts.

Representatives from Pinellas County School District and the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, which represents about 7,800 instructional staff, sparred well into the night Tuesday over how teachers are paid for after-school tutoring and other “extended learning’’ programs.

The School Board and the union still have to ratify the salary schedule and health insurance rates both sides agreed to Tuesday; negotiations on pay for extended learning programs will continue Monday. The School Board is scheduled to vote on the contract Sept. 24.

Under the proposed salary schedule for 2013-2014, a first-year teacher in Pinellas County would get a $3,000 increase from last school year, to $40,000. In Hillsborough County, those teachers earned $37,569 for the 2012-2013 school year; in Pasco County, that figure was $36,420.

According to the proposed salary schedule, Pinellas teachers with 10 years of experience would get an additional $1,388, bumping their annual salary to $41,090, and those with 20 years of experience would get a $2,023 increase to $46,978 a year. Teachers with advanced degrees would earn more.

The PCTA, the Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association, and the Florida Public Service Union also agreed to increase Humana health insurance rates by 6.47 percent, effective in January, and teachers that provide extra training to other teachers will get an hourly pay increase from $13 to $20.

The additional salary increases and increased School Board costs in health insurance benefits will total about $32.8 million. The 2013 Legislature set aside $480 million across the state for salary increases for teachers, other instructional staff and school-based administrators; the Pinellas portion of that allocation is about $18 million.

The biggest sticking point in negotiations has been over teachers’ extra tutoring efforts.

The school district proposed increasing the “volunteer” teachers’ pay from $15 an hour to $20 an hour, though the school district compensation manual calls for $13 an hour. Union president Kim Black said the district should be paying all teachers their regular rates.

But William Corbett, the district’s deputy superintendent, said the work a teacher does when tutoring a handful of students outside of the classroom isn’t comparable to teaching a classroom during the school day.

adawson@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-9851

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