Teachers and support staff are expected to review a contract Monday that, if ratified, would give support staff a 3 percent raise, and teachers 1 percent, beginning July 1.
The possible early summer ratification is a rarity with annual contracts between the school board and the employees. These have traditionally been approved just prior to the Christmas break, or even later, and are retroactive back to July 1.
Catherine Wood, president of the Franklin County Teacher Association, said talks began in early May and that the employees’ team also included FCTA vice-president Jamie Duhart, FCTA treasurer Elinor Mount-Simmons and Tammy Sasnett president, and Joy Towns, vice-president, of the Franklin Educational Support Personnel Association (FESPA)
Representing the school district were Shannon Venable, finance officer, and Tallahassee attorney Leonard Dietzen, the chief negotiator.
Wood said the sides have tentatively agreed to raises for teachers and support staff, pending ratification. Teachers would get 1 percent and support personnel 3 percent.
“The teachers were fortunate to have money from Tallahassee last year that totaled 5 percent of their incomes,” said Wood. “The support staff got nothing because the county was not in a position to offer anything.
“We went to bargaining determined that support staff needed to be respected for the jobs that they do and the best way that county could do that is offering a raise,” she said.
Wood said the contract to be presented Monday night at the school would be for all employees, the approximately 80 teachers and 50 support personnel, not just union members. “We are the bargaining agent but we bargain for all staff, not just our members,” she said. “All are encouraged to come to this meeting.
“Never before has this been done, a summer ratification vote,” she said.
She said the proposed contract also features new language that relates to the evaluation documentation. She said it offers stipulations for pre and post conferencing with teachers for observation and evaluations.
In 2014-15 Florida is implementing new state guidelines that tie “pay for performance,” and rely more than before on evaluations and test scores.
She said a proposed change in health insurance could end Franklin’s status as one of the last counties in the state to fully cover the premium for individual coverage. Teachers have always had to cover the increased cost for family coverage.
The proposal would cap the district’s coverage of single person coverage at this year’s amount, and so employees would have to cover any increases in the cost of the plan.
She said the district will continue to pay the premium for dental coverage at 100 percent, which comes out to about $343 a year.
Wood said the contract also makes changes to the differentiated pay scale, which covers supplemental for coaches, class sponsors, and other positions.
If ratified, the band director would get the same supplemental as a head coach, and there would greater reimbursement for class sponsors, who would no longer have to share a single supplemental.