Pay For Brevard Public Schools Teachers Could Grow Up To 4 Percent, Nine In 10 Rated ‘Highly Effective’
By Matt Reed, BPS Assistant Superintendent // October 16, 2017
teacher pay jump could average $1,975
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Teachers rated “highly effective” could see their pay jump by an average of $1,975 for 2017-2018 at Brevard Public Schools. Teachers rated “effective” could receive $1,431 more in pay, on average.
Those increases of 4.1 percent and 3 percent, respectively, would come from a combination of a proposed district salary raise and annual bonuses funded for three years by the Florida Legislature.
The school district proposed the raise as its “best and final” offer at a bargaining session with the Brevard Federation of Teachers Monday Oct. 16. However, the union did not accept that and other terms and declared an impasse.
Although smaller than the 5 percent raise the BFT once called for in negotiations, the proposed 1.5 percent average salary increase would be the fifth straight annual raise for teachers. The trend:
• 2013-14: 4.53% raise
• 2014-15: 2.12%
• 2015-16: 5.1%
• 2016-17: 1.3%
• 2017-18: 1.5%
Today, the average BPS teacher salary is $47,723.
The raise proposed by the school district would have to be ratified by the BFT membership and approved by the five-member school board.
The proposed 1.5 percent raise comes in a year when all “new” operating dollars at the board’s disposal come from budget cuts to administration and support divisions, not from growth in property taxes or money from the Legislature.
The school board’s priorities call for spending about half of that $6.73 million on raises for teachers who have been rated effective or highly effective, one-third on raises for support personnel, and the remainder on strategic initiatives to improve service to students and families.
Those strategic initiatives include suicide-prevention programs, reopening an elementary school in Titusville, and new busing for students to choice programs.
The cost of the pay raise for staff makes it the biggest budget priority for the School Board and Superintendent Desmond K. Blackburn for the coming year.
On average, the estimated 4,436 teachers rated “highly effective” on evaluations (about 90 percent of all faculty) would receive an average annual raise of $775. In addition, highly effective teachers will receive state bonuses of $1,200 each.
The estimated 478 teachers rated “effective” (10 percent of faculty) would receive an average annual raise of $631. Effective teachers also will receive state bonuses of $800. The bonuses are funded by the Florida Legislature for the next three years.
Teachers rated “needs improvement” (less than 1 percent of faculty) would receive a cost-of-living raise of $200 but are not eligible for bonuses.
The additional pay isn’t the only benefit Brevard teachers have received through agreements between the School Board and BFT. Outside of this year’s collective-bargaining, the parties have agreed to:
• Eliminate time-consuming “professional grown plan” portions of evaluations to give teachers more time for instruction or planning.
• More flexibility to carry-over unused “comp time” from year to year.
In addition, BPS this year opened three health clinics where teachers and staff can receive free primary and urgent care.
LOBBYING FOR BETTER
The modest salary raise in the proposal represents a difficult compromise in a school district where teachers, administrators and school board members all generally believe that educators should earn more.
Although this year’s proposed 1.5 percent raise would be BPS’ fifth in a row, the Consumer Price Index for the Southeastern United States increased 2.5 percent for 2016-2017.
That’s one reason why Superintendent Blackburn, school board members and BPS lobbyists have pressed for stronger school funding in meetings with state legislators.
In Tallahassee, they have argued for leaving property tax rates the same so that school revenue can recover as the economy grows. And They have pursued adequate transportation funding, which would free millions of dollars for other priorities.
Unlike in some other states, the Florida Legislature controls tax rates and revenue for all 67 school districts. For 2017-2018, it decided to lower the property tax rate for school operations to generate the same revenue from existing properties.
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