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District and LCEA reach tentative agreement on contract

TAVARES – Lake County Schools and the LCEA teachers union reached tentative agreement on a contract at the Aug. 9 bargaining session. The agreement was signed by both parties today. If ratified and approved by the School Board, the contract will apply to the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

 

The highlight of the agreement is a compensation package, effective July 1, 2018, that includes the following:

  • All instructional employees will receive a $400 cost of living adjustment added to their base salary.
  • Teachers on a grandfathered pay plan will receive an additional $800 for a total increase of $1,200.
  • Teachers on the Performance Pay Plan who receive an Effective evaluation rating will receive $808 for a total increase of $1,208.
  • Teachers on the Performance Pay Plan who receive a Highly Effective evaluation rating will receive $1,078 for a total increase of $1,478. Because teachers did not receive a raise in 2017-18, the district will base this increase on the highest evaluation received over the past two years.
  • Teachers on a Professional Services Contract who have traditionally been capped at the top of their salary schedule, eligible to receive one-time bonuses but not permanent salary increases, will no longer face that restriction.

 In addition, all instructional personnel assigned to Title I schools will receive a $500 stipend; teachers assigned to Differential Accountability Schools – Beverly Shores Elementary and Eustis Heights Elementary – will receive a $250 stipend, and teachers certified and assigned to teach in critical shortage areas such as chemistry, physics and calculus, will receive a $750 stipend.

 

“This is the result of many months of long, hard and important work by the district and the LCEA for our teachers,’’ said Superintendent Diane Kornegay. “I want to thank everybody who played a role in making these well-deserved pay increases possible. We want to do everything we can to recruit and retain the best teachers for our students.”

 

“To be a public school teacher in Florida is fraught with many challenges,’’ said Stuart Klatte, President of the Lake County Education Association. “By working collaboratively, the bargaining teams overcame the challenges and delivered a fair contract with increased compensation and language that will enhance working conditions. Teachers are pleased and excited to begin the new school year.”

 

The total compensation package is worth about $5 million and reflects a commitment Kornegay made during her first year with the district to increase compensation for employees. With no additional revenue to support the goal, she realigned the district’s organizational structure and cut positions to free up money for the raises.

 

The District and SEIU, the union that represents bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other service employees, reached tentative agreement on a $2.5 million compensation package in June.

 

While the district’s negotiations with the LCEA, which began July 28, 2017, took longer than either party anticipated, leaders of both said they were pleased with the process and the outcome. Their new collaborative interest-based bargaining approach allowed all members of the bargaining team to openly discuss articles and problem solve together.

 

The contract is not final until the bargaining unit votes to ratify it and the School Board approves it. No date has been set for the bargaining unit vote, but the district is hoping to get the contract to the School Board at its Sept. 10 meeting.