The Leon County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday evening to approve a new contract for instructional staff.
"For one thing, I'm very happy we're putting money in the base salary. That's where the money needs to go," said board chair Rosanne Wood after the vote. "I wish for the future that we could talk the legislature into letting us take the money that they give us for bonuses and put it in the base salary because a teacher cannot get a mortgage for their house based on a bonus."
The Leon Classroom Teachers Association reports that 95 percent of the teachers who voted approved the contract.
Leon County teachers are voting today on a new contract, and the Leon County School Board will vote at its meeting this evening at 6.
Leon Classroom Teachers Association president Scott Mazur says the sides have reached a tentative agreement on a salary increase.
“It’ll equate to about $1,650 for those that were rated highly effective last year and $1,625 for those rate effective last year and even include our first year teachers with the $1,500 market adjustment.”
The agreement includes other requests for teachers -- like making sure their planning time is protected.
If the contract is ratified, teachers will get a lump sum pay increase in May for the current school year. Mazur says the union fought for more money and will continue to advocate for a career path for its members.
“There’s nothing more important than making sure we recruit and retain the best teachers possible. Leadership in the classroom, just like leadership at a school, is the most defining piece of student success,” Mazur says. “We’re about $10,000 behind the national average in teacher salaries as a state, and when you’re looking at Leon County schools, the salary is ranked closer to 47th out of all the districts and there’s only 67 of them.”
Mazur calls the new agreement a step in the right direction – a good thing since bargaining for next year begins in April. For the current agreement, the bonuses and salary adjustments equal an additional cost to the district of around $4.6 million.