Palm Beach County Teachers Reject Latest Contract Offer

News Palm Beach County Schools

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — Already among the highest paid in the state of Florida, the Palm Beach County teacher’s “Classroom Teachers Association” again rejected a salary increase that would have raised some teachers to $72,500 a year.
According to the school district:
 

The School District of Palm Beach County and Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) met again on Thursday, November 15, 2012 to negotiate teacher salaries.  This meeting marked the 10th bargaining session since negotiations began on May 31, 2012.  After seven hours of productive negotiations back and forth, District officials presented the School Board’s last and best contract proposal to CTA’s bargaining team.  Unfortunately the parties were unable to reach agreement on the complete proposal.
The School Board’s offer was responsive to CTA’s proposals and would have provided a salary increase for the 2012-13 school year that is believed to be the highest in the State of Florida.  Teacher unions in Broward (BTU) and Dade County (UTD) recently agreed to salary increases significantly less than the proposal offered to CTA.  Both Broward and Dade teachers have gone without a raise in recent years.  Their agreements call for a one step salary increase effective mid-year (December or January).
 
The Board’s proposal to CTA for the teachers of Palm Beach County would have provided the following:
 

  • Teachers would have received a step increase on an improved salary schedule retroactive to the start of the 2012-13 school year.
  • Under the Board’s proposal, all teachers would have received an equitable increase averaging 3.29% for the entire employee group.
  • By improving the salary schedule, teachers eligible for a step would have received an increase ranging from $1,500 to $4,300.  The majority of teachers were scheduled to receive $1,500 with an average increase of $1,725.
  • The proposed salary schedule included 26 steps ranging from $38,000 to $72,500.
  • The starting base salary would have been raised from $37,322 to $38,000.  Although new hires are not eligible for a step, those on step one would have received a $678 increase by raising the minimum salary.
  • Teachers currently earning the longevity salary of $71,745, and therefore not eligible for a step, would have seen their base salary increased $755 to $72,500 and received a one-time salary bonus of $745.
  • Future step increases would remain subject to negotiations.  The School Board is not proposing a return to automatic annual step increases.
  • The total salary package represented a $22.4 million increase that would have impacted all 12,578 employees within the teachers bargaining unit and exhausted all available funds.
  • In order to prepare for the State performance pay mandate, the District’s proposal included a parallel min/max salary schedule for future use.  No teachers would be placed on the min/max salary schedule for the current school year.
  • The School Board also removed the provision that permitted a reversion of FY2013 salary increases in the event the District experiences a funding shortfall as a result of the Florida Retirement System (FRS) lawsuit.  Instead, this proposal only sought contract language to reopen negotiations if the District experiences a funding shortfall for FY2014.

 
The District’s bargaining team is disappointed that the parties were unable to reach agreement.  It remains our hope to reach agreement in time to impact employee paychecks prior to the Winter Break.  The School Board committed the resources necessary to propose a salary settlement that would have lead the State.  The Board made this commitment despite facing significant economic uncertainty.  The pending Florida Supreme Court ruling on the 3% employee FRS contribution could cause a serious budget crisis for both the State and School District.  Another major concern is the Federal Fiscal cliff facing the nation in January and the impact it could have on the economy and education funding.
 
The Superintendent will be meeting with the School Board on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 in a closed door executive session to discuss next steps as it relates to collective bargaining.