tampabay.com

Pinellas teachers can bank on average raise of 6%

Thanks to Pinellas voters, they're the area's best paid.

By DONNA WINCHESTER
Published August 16, 2006


The Pinellas School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved an agreement that will make the district's teachers the best paid in the Tampa Bay area.

New teachers with bachelor's degrees will make $36,000, slightly more than their counterparts in Hillsborough County. Experienced teachers with master's degrees and at least 27 years' experience will make $60,000.

A bargaining committee made up of administrators, union leaders and other employees tentatively approved the settlement on Aug. 1 that will raise teacher salaries an average of 6.4 percent. Some teachers will receive an increase of 15.7 percent.

Meanwhile, noninstructional employees, including administrators and professional and technical staff members, will receive an average 4.6 percent increase.

Michelle Dennard, president of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, thanked the board for setting a goal more than two years ago to raise salaries. She also thanked Pinellas County voters for approving a property tax referendum in November 2004 that "put the dollars on the table."

Board member Jane Gallucci praised the bargaining efforts but said she remains concerned about the relative lack of salary bumps for midcareer teachers.

"I would like to see us even out on the instructional side some of those raises in the middle of the scale to keep teachers here," Gallucci said.

Board member Linda Lerner also applauded the agreement, but said she would like to see the district provide benefits for teacher assistants who work fewer than six hours a day.

The tentative agreement, reached by members of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, satisfied nearly 92 percent of the teachers who voted, said Jade Moore, the organization's executive director. The contract for support employees was approved by 94 percent of the Pinellas Educational Support Professionals Association, Moore said.

The increase brings the average teacher salary to $46,770, up from $43,916, and puts Pinellas ahead of Hillsborough schools. A recent 10 percent teacher raise in that district brought starting salaries to $35,012.

Superintendent Clayton Wilcox congratulated the bargaining groups, as well as Ron Stone, associate superintendent for human resources, for what he called a true group effort that has boosted teacher compensation 15 percent over the past two years.

Times staff writer Thomas C. Tobin contributed to this report.

Salary adjustments ratified Tuesday by the Pinellas County School Board will mean a minimum increase of 4 percent for teachers and an average increase of 4.6 percent for non-instructional employees, including administrators and professional and technical staff members.

 

2005-06 2006-07

-High school principal

$74,547 $77,530

- Experienced teacher

$57,550 $60,000

- Midcareer teacher

$40,050 $42,270

- Beginning teacher

$34,000 $36,300

- School secretary III

$11.65/hour $12.10/hour

- PE assistant

$10.59/hour $11/hour

- Plant operator

$8.75/hour $9.09/hour

- Cafeteria worker

$8.75/hour $9.09/hour

 

- 27 years with master's degree

** 14 years with bachelor's degree

 

Source: Pinellas County School District