Negotiations that started in the summer resulted in the end of the step program, which rewarded some teachers the longer they were employed.
Five months of negotiating came to an end last week, when the teachers union and the superintendent reached an agreement on salaries for the next two years.
Sarasota County Schools and Sarasota Classified/Teachers Union agreed to a plan that gives teachers a percentage raise based on their performance evaluations.
Under the two-year deal affecting this school year and the next, teachers who are found to be “effective” will receive a 3.25% salary increase both years. Teachers who are “highly effective” will receive a 4.25% increase. Non-instructional employees will get a 3.75% increase.
This agreement gets rid of the step salary schedule, which rewarded teachers who were employed before 2009 based on how long they had been employed.
“Truthfully I think in the career of a teacher, they will make more money at the end of their career than they would have on the step program,” said SC/TA President Pat Gardner of the merit-based salary increases.
Both parties also agreed to an annual first-year teacher salary of $43,150, to be increased next year to $44,340. Gardner said this will allow the district to competitively recruit new employees.
“For months [teachers and staff] have patiently waited for pay increases as we faithfully worked to provide a new performance structure throughout the district,” Superintendent Todd Bowden said in a release from the school district. “With the new deal, we recognize the amazing dedication and passion teachers bring to classrooms every day.”
Both parties need to approve and ratify the agreement, as well as the Sarasota County School Board. The School Board is scheduled to approve the agreement on March 6.
If all goes as planned, the pay increases will take effect immediately and employees will be retroactively paid for the school year in the March 15 pay period.