Most of the teachers at Franklin County School, and all of the support staff, will be getting raises this year.
At their April 27 regular meeting, members of the school board voted unanimously to accept the terms of contracts reached with the Franklin County Teachers Association (FCTA), and with the Franklin Educational Support Personnel Association (FESPA).
At an April 18 meeting, all 39 teachers who attended a ratification meeting voted in favor of the contract, which will apply to all 73 of the school’s teachers. Both members of the union, and non-members, took part in the vote.
At an April 6 meeting of the support personnel, 40 voted in favor and 10 against. There are 72 staff eligible to participate in the support personnel contract, with 44 of them members of the union.
Terms of the teachers contract, which is retroactive to July 1, 2016, provide for a $1,185 performance pay raise for those teachers who are deemed Highly Effective, and a $887 annual raise to those who have been determined to be Highly Effective.
Because many of the teachers work under contracts that were grandfathered in before the state eliminated tenure a few years ago, they qualify for raises under a slightly lower scale. All of them must still meet the standards, based on their spring 2016 assessments, but the Highly Effective will get $1,184 and the Effective $884.
Karen Peddie, the district’s director of human resources, said just one teacher, among the grandfathered staff, qualifies for the Highly Effective raise. Earning the pay raise for being Effective will be a total of 48 teachers, 20 of whom are working under grandfathered contracts.
Because the raises are based on spring 2016 evaluations, none of the 21 teachers who were new to the district beginning in summer 2016 are eligible to receive the raises.
The support personnel contract provides for a 43-cent across-the-board pay hike to these staffers.
Board Chairman Stacy Kirvin said following the meeting that the school board liked the way the negotiations were carried out, in that a set amount, about $50,000, was earmarked for teacher raises, and a formula established for divvying it up, rather than having an ongoing back-and-forth trying to meet in the middle between differing percentages.
The teacher pact also includes a number of other items, including reimbursement for five additional supplemental contracts. These include math coach, $2,000; assistant volleyball coach, $1,977; National Honor Society and Beta Club sponsors, $750 each; and boys golf coach, $2,307.
The contract provides for reimbursement to teachers for the cost of completing the exams and certification if the school board has asked them to add a subject or endorsement to their teaching certificate.
The contract terms also tightens the requirements for all staff for up to three days of paid bereavement leave, and now requires that up to 20 days of paid leave for union-related business requires verification that they “are of a direct representational nature, including but not limited to collective bargaining, grievance and membership representation.
The two Tallahassee lawyers who represented the district in the talks, Leonard Dietzen and Linda Edwards, each were paid $200 an hour by the district.
The salary schedule for teachers now starts an educator with a bachelors degree at $34,438 annually, and it goes up to nearly $53,000 based on years of service. Holding a masters degree is worth an additional $2,700 per year. In addition, the district estimates that coverage of costs for group benefits amounts to nearly $6,436 annually per teacher.
The salary schedule for support personnel, for starting pay for someone with no experience, ranges from $12,670 for a bus driver, to $14,788 for a food service worker to about $17,000 for a paraprofessional, $23,000 for a custodian and $25,3000 for a secretary. A mechanic starts at $34,577 and an assistant mechanic at $28,683. In addition, the district estimates that coverage of costs for group benefits amounts to nearly $7,000 annually per each of these staffers.