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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Pasco schools giving first raises in 6 years

LAND O’ LAKES — The Pasco County School Board and school district employees have ratified contracts that will give teachers and other school workers their first raises in six years.

The school board unanimously approved the contracts Tuesday, five days after the employees voted.

The employee results weren’t immediately known, though, because United School Employees of Pasco didn’t count them until Monday night. Kenny Blankenship, a union vice president, said 96 percent of teachers and 97 percent of other employees voted in favor of the agreements. Blankenship said 68 percent of eligible employees participated in the vote.

The agreements, which were negotiated in late August, call for the starting salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree to increase to $37,000 annually, up from $36,400.

Also, all teachers would receive across-the-board raises of $580 a year. In addition, veteran teachers would receive “loyalty shares” worth $310 for each year they worked through the recent economic downturn, up to five years. The total raise for a teacher employed for one year would be $890 and for five years would be $2,130.

The district’s longest-serving teachers — those with 27 or more years of experience — would receive an additional share, bringing their raises to $2,440.

Other school employees represented by the union, such as custodians, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, would see step increases on their pay schedules that vary by positions.

The district also set aside funds to provide raises to administrators and other employees who are not represented by the union. The increase for administrative employees averages about 4 percent and the increase for other workers averages about 4.8 percent, according to district records.

Raises will be retroactive to July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

Under the contracts, the district continues to provide health insurance at no cost to employees. The employees do pay if they want to insure family members on the policy.

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