Pasco college workers ask for raises, not one-time dietary supplements

Delly Bezoss

LAND O’ LAKES — Pasco County college district lecturers and assist workers need raises.

Throughout contract talks Monday, United Faculty Staff of Pasco representatives made clear that the district’s provide of one-time dietary supplements of 4 % didn’t meet their wants.

As a substitute, they requested to maneuver the cash round in order that the dietary supplements are smaller and the pay will increase, which might proceed in future years, could be added to the combo.

“That is vital for competing with surrounding counties, vital for morale, and we simply assume it’s the correct factor to do,” mentioned Jeff Larsen, the union’s lead negotiator for educational employees.

He contended a 1 % complement and a increase of at the very least 3 % for lecturers who gained’t attain that stage with state-funded will increase would value the identical quantity because the district’s plan. If the priority is about paying the quantity in future years, Larsen mentioned, the state already has adopted an schooling price range that will increase uncommitted per-student funding by 4.9 % and expanded the quantity obtainable for trainer pay, whereas the district has thousands and thousands coming from federal coronavirus reduction funds.

“I believe the cash is there,” he mentioned.

Lynn Cavall, his counterpart main talks on the assist personnel contract, made comparable arguments in asking for a 4.25 % increase for all staff besides bus drivers, who would get a 7 % increase below the proposal.

The district has struggled all yr to recruit and retain bus drivers, leading to steps like altering college begin instances midyear and planning to chop routes this fall. A number of individuals have urged that Pasco’s driver pay, which is beneath that of surrounding counties, is a key issue.

“I imagine that 7 % would take us a bit nearer … to what among the surrounding counties are providing,” Cavall mentioned, noting the state legislation rising the minimal wage to $15 in October will pressure the problem quickly anyway.

District officers mentioned they shared the need to supply greater pay to everybody. That was the aim till the district bumped into price range shortfalls associated to coronavirus insurance coverage claims and the state’s enlargement of packages that use public cash to pay personal college tuition.

That left the district unable to fund ongoing raises, mentioned Nora Mild, who leads trainer contract talks for the district.

Mild instructed the union the one funds obtainable have been “nonrecurring,” that means they may very well be spent this yr solely and couldn’t be relied on yr after yr, because the union urged. “The concept that we may take nonrecurring funds and use them in a recurring method is simply not possible,” she mentioned.

Tom Neesham, main the noninstructional contract talks for the district, referred to as such a transfer fiscally irresponsible. The district is not going to decide to spending cash it doesn’t have, he mentioned, even when the monetary image rising from Tallahassee seems encouraging.

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Even so, Neesham and Mild instructed the union representatives they’d carry the proposal to the superintendent’s employees on Tuesday. They tentatively scheduled one other spherical of bargaining for Thursday.

Pasco is the final district within the Tampa Bay space to not have a settled worker contract. Hillsborough County accomplished negotiations in February. The Pinellas County Faculty Board is scheduled to ratify its trainer contract Tuesday morning.

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