Rare positive step by the Florida Legislature: proposed equity in raises among teacher groups
After completely trashing the job protections and compensation schedules of Florida’s teachers over a decade ago, the Florida Legislature is now considering returning some flexibility to local districts and their unions.
This proposed move would do much to remedy the inequities between different groups of teachers.
The Florida Legislature banned teachers hired after 2011 from having an expectation of continued employment from year-to-year, thus rendering all newer teachers as perpetual annual contract. Literally interpreted, that means any teacher hired after 2011 could be non-renewed without cause at the end of that yearly contract.
As you have come to expect from us, we ensured the law did NOT work that way here in Sarasota County. Our teachers were never subject to non-renewal without cause.
Under the proposed changes to this law, SB 7000, we would be able to negotiate multi-year contracts for all post-2011 teacher-hires with either an highly effective or effective evaluation. That teacher could continue in multi-year status, as long as his or her evaluation stays at “highly effective” or “effective” levels.
Should the teacher receive a “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” rating in a subsequent year, he or she would be returned to annual contract status. The new proposed legislation would also provide for a “just cause” standard prior to the termination of a multi-year teacher’s contract.
This would mean that a professional service contract teacher’s job is protected at a level similar to those of a grandfathered (tenured) contract teacher.
The proposed law would retain the restriction of raises for “effective” versus “highly effective” performance scale teachers. Teachers rated “effective” can still only receive up to 75% the increase of a “highly effective” performance teacher.
Another positive proposed change in this law would drop the requirement that no teacher could receive a raise more than 75% of the raise received by a “highly effective” performance contract teacher. The current law has rightly angered many of our more senior teachers. Under the proposed change, “highly effective” grandfathered teachers would now be able to receive the same raise as “highly effective” performance scale teachers!
This law, SB 7000, is due for a preliminary hearing Dec. 12 in the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee. I urge all of our members to write or call their legislators and encourage them to support these helpful changes to current law. Please remember that this is a proposed change in law and is a long way from becoming law, but it is nice to be able to share some potentially good news with you.
You can find a list of our local legislators on our website, www.sctaonline.org.
P. S. Payroll is currently projecting that the 2% one-time supplement will appear on our Dec. 15 checks. Retroactive and full raises will appear at the check coming at the end of December. We’re not sure yet if this check will include the retroactivity on classified overtime.
This schedule may change, but both Human Resources and Payroll staffs are doing everything possible to make it happen.
Remember, the school board has already ratified this agreement, and we’ll ratify it at the worksites on Thursday and Friday. Please vote!
— Barry Dubin, executive director of the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association