CLEARWATER — Many Pinellas County school employees will receive 5-percent raises this school year as part of a tentative deal announced today between the school district and the employees’ union.
“We’re very pleased to announce that with the approval of the tentative agreement with SEIU we will be able to give these employees a 5-percent salary increase,” Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael Grego said in a statement.
“This increase is the largest one we’ve been able to provide to this group in more than 10 years. This agreement demonstrates the commitment that our School Board and leadership team have toward recognizing and rewarding the efforts of our employees.”
The tentative agreement still needs to be approved by the School Board and the SEIU/Florida Public Services Union, which represents transportation, maintenance, plant operations and food service workers. About 2,500 employees would get raises, according to the school district.
Unlike in recent years, when the school district faced drastic cuts because of falling tax revenue, administrators are projecting about a $6 million surplus this school year. That’s thanks to an additional $45 million from the state and what Grego has referred to as “creative budgeting.”
Pinellas school administrators must still resolve the issue of teacher raises.
Gov. Rick Scott’s budget proposed that each teacher receive a $2,500 raise next year, but the Legislature came up with a different formula, based on merit, and there is no mandate that every teacher get a raise. Pinellas County received about $18 million for salary increases — less money than needed for a $2,500 increase for all teachers.
The school district and the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association have yet to reach an agreement on teacher increases. Negotiations with the teachers union are scheduled for Tuesday and with the union representing support staff the following day. Bruce Proud, who heads the teachers union, said he hopes final agreements can be reached by next Wednesday.
The School Board is due to vote on the budget Sept. 10.