The Leon County Classroom Teachers Association is negotiating salary increases for instructors. In a meeting Thursday, the teachers’ union said it wants more than the Superintendent’s original offer.
The school district originally offered a nearly $1,150 increase to base salaries – totaling $3.2 million dollars for nearly 2,200 teachers. But Association President Scott Mazur says that’s not enough to cover rising costs, like that of healthcare, that have gone up in recent years. That’s why Mazur’s counter-offer Thursday was for a $3,000 increase for 2018-19, followed by and a $1,500 increase the following year.
“Last time this group met face-to-face to bargain for a fair contract, we walked away feeling disrespected by an offer that does not meet the needs of our members,” Mazur said.
The union’s counter-offer, which would total $7.8 million dollars the first year, will go to the School Board for consideration. Mazur says the ask boils down to prioritizing teachers in the district budget.
“We do not submit this proposal as a provocation, but as an opportunity to work together to solve the issues our district, and our community face,” Mazur said. “We are only asking that our local leaders and community members come together to ensure that those who educate our children are respected.”
Deana McAllister is director of labor and employee relations for the district, and works with the union during negotiations.
“The financial package they have offered is going to have to go under serious consideration,” McAllister said. “Because what we’re not going to do is make a decision quickly.”
Despite the union’s call to be prioritized more highly in the budgeting process, McAllister says the district has to consider all of its employees, and other expenses.
“What we have to take under consideration is what we’re fiscally responsible for. And what we have to understand is, school systems are not made up primarily of teachers. We have teachers, we have assistants, we have support staff, we have blue collar, transportation – it’s just a whole. So the superintendent has to include all of that in his budgeting,” McAllister said.
Some changes to contract language are also being negotiated between the parties.