Tentative Contract Agreement Reached
This contract agreement is historic, especially when you think about what is going on around the country. Going back to school with salaries and benefits in place on the first day of work helps teachers and support professionals have a brighter outlook as they open the 2015-16 school year. I believe this contract is a respectful contract not only to the process, but to the person.
I know that the people who work in the classrooms, who walk the hallways, along with our clerical workers and paraprofessionals make up the village, and it takes everyone to help students succeed.
That said, I feel compelled to remind everyone that in 2011 Governor Scott signed Senate Bill (SB) 736 into law in spite of the fact that it was opposed by nearly everyone involved in the education of children, including school boards, superintendents, and our union. The bill was supported by the Foundation for Florida’s Future, an organization created and supported by Jeb Bush. This one act put Florida’s public schools, including Miami-Dade County Schools, on a collision course with some very difficult decisions. We have already felt the affects of some of those decisions. The Value Added Model (VAM) is one of those examples and has significant problems.
We are faced with the mandate to implement one of the most onerous items in SB736 and that is the requirement to create and implement performance pay. The problem centers on the lack of funding and a salary schedule we have had for over 40 years. Senate Bill 736 mandates that a teacher on the performance pay scale receives an increase no less than the highest available increase for an employee in the same job. That amount is currently $7,511. It was not possible given the amount of funding we receive from the state to fund a salary schedule that keeps our current steps, and creates a performance pay plan that follows the law. If we maintain the step schedule, we would be out of compliance with the law.
For the past several years, we have worked to mitigate the problems of the salary schedule exacerbated by the lack of funding when the legislature consistently fails to provide what is necessary to restructure the salary system without harming any group of teachers along the way. Senate Bill 736 forced us to the point where we can no longer take small steps to create a working salary model.
The salary agreement for this year represents what both UTD and M-DCPS think is the best way available to make a transition to a workable salary model for the future. We spent countless hours working to make this as fair as possible for everyone.
This contract has improvements that are important for you to know. Below are some highlights:
• The salary and benefits compensation package for UTD employees grows by 4% worth over $52 million.
• Instructional employees receive pay increases effective July 1, 2015 ranging from 1.23 to 6% dependent on the employee’s current step. (See hybrid model)
• 85% of employees will see a salary increase equal to or greater than the current step.
• Salary increases are retroactive to July 1, 2015.
• The new Minimum/Maximum Salary Schedule is sustainable and in compliance with current Florida Statute mandates as modified by Senate Bill 736 (The current step model is not in compliance and is not sustainable).
• Most employees who pay for dependent care and choose either OAP 20 or Local Plus will have a premium decrease with no reduction in benefits.
• Co-pays and co-insurance rates remain the same for OAP 20 and Local Plus.
• Education Support Employees on the top step get a 2% increase and all other ESP’s get a 2.75% increase effective July 1, 2015.
• The Value Adjustment Board (VAB) lawsuit filed by UTD helped to maximize the funds available for salary increases.
• Implementation of IPEGS summative evaluations to 50% based on observation, 15% based on Deliberate Growth Practice Target (DGPT) completion and 35% based on Value Added Model (VAM).
• The sick leave bank remains viable and employees should have fewer days deducted in the future.
• Creating a way for qualified Paraprofessionals to become a teacher and keep some job security as a Paraprofessional if they need to return to the position.
• A guarantee that employees leave one (1) hour early on Election Day if it is also a District Professional Development Day.
• Creation of contractual language that limits new payroll deductions for companies that sell employees products not approved in the model plan. This protects employees from products that have not been scrutinized by financial professionals.
• Contract language that simplifies the process for schools voting on block and Secondary School Reform Initiative (SSRI) schedules.