HCTA's 2022 Local Candidate Screening Process Is Underway

BROOKSVILLE, FL -- April 15, 2022

While it is certainly true that ALL elections have consequences, perhaps no election is of greater consequence for our neighborhood public schools than the election of members to our local school board. More than just a governing body, the school board is entrusted with our collective vision of vibrant public schools that help EVERY child who walks through the doors achieve thier highest potential. The individuals we choose to serve the community as school board members are uniquely positioned to set policies and direct the work of district leaders in delivering that vision. And this year, Hernando County School Board Districts 1, 3 and 5 are all on the ballot. 

As is customary and appropriate, Hernando Classroom Teachers' Association will be actively engaged in this year's local elections. Invitations have been emailed to all candidates vying for seats on the Hernando County School Board. Candidates are asked to submit a completed endorsement screening questionnaire by April 25th. Interviews will be held on May 14th at the HCTA office. 

School Board candidate screening timelines:

  • 4/15/22 – Invitations and candidate questionnaires forwarded to all candidates
  • 4/25/22 – RSVP & completed questionnaires returned to committee
  • 5/14/22 – Candidate interviews
  • 5/24/22 – Recommendations announced

Candidates for the Hernando County School Board who have not received an email invitation to participate in the HCTA endorsement screenings are encouraged to contact HCTA as soon as possible.

Meet the 2022 Local Elections Endorsement Committee:

The members of HCTA’s Local Elections Endorsement Committee provide a balanced representation of our HCTA membership.

  • All levels and multiple disciplines, including CTE
  • Experience ranging from 6 to 30 years, and a cumulative total of 138 years in teaching
  • Ages ranging from 29 to 65
  • Most with children attending or having graduated from HCSD
  • All residents of Hernando County
  • All actively engaged in community and/or union leadership
  • Balanced representation of party affiliations (R, D, I and NPA)

Through an open and non-partisan process, this committee endeavors to identify candidates for local offices who most align with the values and priorities of our membership. All candidates for the offices being reviewed will be invited to participate in the screening process to be considered for endorsement. To ensure recommendations of the committee best reflect the interests of members, participating candidates will be vetted using tools created from input provided through recent survey of HCTA members.

Tell Tallahassee: ADDRESS THE TEACHER SHORTAGE!

BROOKSVILLE, March 3, 2022--

As the final week of the 2022 FL Legislative Session begins, educators, parents and students across the state are still waiting for Tallahassee legislators to provide real solutions to the most significant challenge our public schools are facing today: the growing educator shortage!

2021 Tentative Agreements Reached

HCTA and HCSD bargaining teams have reached several significant agreements for 2021 wages, hours and working conditions. As these memoranda will provide significant financial improvement for instructional staff, the ratification process will be expedited with worksite voting to be held on November 10th and November 12th. All instructional staff in Hernando County Schools are invited to register for the Virtual Ratificatoin Update which will be held on November 9th at 6:30 pm. 

 

HCTA Bargaining Update - 8/25/21

Wednesday evening, HCTA and HUSW bargaining teams met with the District to begin active discussion around the millage funds. While we had certainly hoped that the bargain around a win like the successful passage of the local referendum would be an opportunity for a truly collaborative conversation, the parties failed to reach agreement on the first step of the bargain—determining the distribution of the funds into each employee constituency (HCTA, HUSW, Confidential, Professional Technical, and Admin).

HCTA cited district-created promotional material, including direct quotes from the Superintendent and School Board members, to advocate that the ‘bulk of funds’ available for salaries should go to teachers. HCTA suggested, for a second time, that referendum dollars be divided among the units in the same percentage as the general payroll. Essentially, this would honor the repeated messaging of the district’s intent to use the referendum to ‘Keep Quality Teachers’ while improving each unit by the same overall percentage.

The district’s final proposal of the evening suggested that the funds initially be split 90/10 between the represented units and non-represented units. This would reserve 90% of the referendum salary improvement dollars to be bargained by HCTA and HUSW, while allowing the district to determine how the remaining 10% would be distributed to confidential, professional technical, and administrative employees. The parties suspended negotiations for the evening with an agreement to resume the joint bargaining of millage funds after HCTA and the district have addressed this year’s Teacher Salary Increase Allocation.

It is anticipated that the negotiation of TSIA for instructional raises will be the primary focus of bargaining sessions through the month of September. Districts are required to report TSIA distribution plans by Oct 1st.  Please stay alert for updates and possible calls for action from HCTA.

Ask HCSB to Support Relief Payments for ALL Instructional Staff

Now that the FLDOE is beginning to issue guidance regarding the $1000 relief payments from the state for classroom teachers and principals, we need to make sure that none of our instructional colleagues are left out!  Our non-classroom instructional staff were vital to the safe and successful return to learning for students in Hernando Schools. The failure of state-level leaders to recognize that is discouraging, but it doesn't have to be divisive!

What We Know About Bonuses

As you know, the state budget that was recently passed includes an allocation of around $215 million, to provide full-time classroom teachers and principals with a $1,000 bonus, using funds from the American Relief Plan.

In April and May, Governor DeSantis highlighted this bonus quite a bit, but his sense of urgency seems to have faded, and many are left wondering when they can expect to receive a bonus. Almost a month after signing the budget into law, the details of when and how bonuses are to be paid to educators remain unclear.

For too many of our colleagues, a ‘thanks for a job well-done’ bonus after the stress and uncertainty of working through the pandemic may not materialize at all. As was true with Best and Brightest bonuses, the non-classroom teachers (school counselors, psychologists, media specialists, etc.) will not qualify for these bonuses from the state.

HCTA brought a proposal for bonuses to the bargaining table in early June hoping to secure acommit ment from the District to provide matching bonuses for instructional staff left out of the state plan. We know that every educator working in Hernando schools through the past year helped to ensure our students were safe and that learning continued. It is our position that as federal COVID relief funds make their way into the District, nonrecurring dollars will be available to cover the cost of one-time bonuses. We await a response from the District.

Beyond knowing who will be receiving bonuses and when, we know that you have questions about these bonuses. It remains unclear whether bonuses will be paid to individuals who retired or separated from employment during or after the 2020-21 school year. It is also not yet known whether bonus checks will be issued directly from the state, or if the District will be tasked with distribution of funds. What we know is true of bonuses (generally speaking):

  • Bonuses are taxable at a higher rate than regular income.
  • The recipient will be responsible for taxes on the bonus.
  • Bonuses do NOT count toward retirement under FRS. 

We encourage you to follow the progress of negotiations online and look for additional updates from HCTA in the weeks ahead. Be sure to reach out to our friends on the school board to ask if ALL instructional staff will see bonuses this year.

RESOURCES:

FEA has added a list of FAQs on their website. The page will be updated as more information is made available.