Our students and community need strong, vibrant public schools. We know that teachers' voices can make the difference in ensuring that the resources are available to meet every student's individual needs. That's why we are shining a light on the achievements in our classrooms and the work and challenges associated with them. The narrative of Hernando's public schools belongs to all of us, and in order for the truth to be known, we need to be the ones telling our stories!
Fund Our Future, Hernando
As a statewide teacher shortage grows, our professional association is advocating for meaningful changes in state and local policies that directly impact our classrooms. Fund Our Future is an ongoing campaign to recruit and retain teachers, promote student success, and invest in our neighborhood public schools. Here in Hernando County we support local efforts to supplement state and federal funding to ensure competitive wages for educators, expand academic opportunities and increase career paths for students, and to provide the classrooms needed to support a rapidly expanding population. Together, we are proudly speaking up and speaking out for our neighborhood public schools -- and the students educated in them!
Red For Ed Wednesdays
Every Wednesday, HCTA joins teachers across the state of Florida in a visible show of support for our neighborhood public schools. We wear RED for Public Ed because we know all too well the compromises that have to be made --and the impact of those compromises on our students-- when funding for our schools is inadequate or bogged down in mandates. We wear red to call attention to the solvable problems in education. Recruiting and Retaining teachers can't be solved with flawed accountability systems. With 4,961 teacher vacancies in K12 classrooms across Florida at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, ballooning to 6,006 teacher vacancies at the start of 2022-2023, Florida schools aren't failing--FUNDING is FAILING Florida's schools!
Hernando Classroom Teachers’ Association: Fund Our Future Statewide Tour Coming to Brooksville
BROOKSVILLE — The Florida Education Association (FEA) is engaged in a month-long bus tour to raise awareness of the need for the Legislature to invest in public education. Along the way, FEA officers will be participating in events where they will listen to the voices of students, parents, professional educators and community members.
“It is no secret that educators in Florida are underpaid and underappreciated,” said Fedrick Ingram, president of the
On the heels of union-busting state legislation eliminating payroll dues deductions and requiring 60% membership density for most public sector unions, members of the Hernando Classroom Teachers' Association are rallying together to declare: "I'm sticking with MY union!"
In the face of wide-spread opposition from Florida's working families, and despite criticism of lawmakers from both parties, SB 256 was sent to the Governor's desk to be signed into law in early May with most provisions taking effect July 1, 2023. The Florida Education Association immediately filed suit in federal court to challenge the law as unconstitutional under both the First Amendment and 14th Amendment, asserting that the law infringes on educators' freedom of speech and equal protection of laws. The complaint seeks injunctive relief as it imposes significant harms on disfavored unions (not all public sector unions are subject to provisions of the law).
Even as the law is challenged in court, local unions across the state are taking proactive steps to secure their collective bargaining rights ahead of July 1st. In February, HCTA was among the first FEA locals to introduce eDues, an easy, reliable, and secure alternative to payroll dues deductions. Within just a few short weeks, invitations to make the switch had been rolled out to all worksites, and on the eve of summer break well more than half of HCTA's members have made the move.
Initiating a unique login for the membership portal requires that members have a home email address on file with HCTA. Members report that the process to set up eDues takes only minutes from the first click and can be completed on any mobile device. For members who don't use online banking, or for those who prefer not to use their online banking credentials, verification can be completed through a micro deposit using routing and account number. This video offers a brief explainer of the set up process.
We know most change isn't easy, and we know that any change with financial implications can be particularly difficult. Obviously, that is part of the intent of this law. Proponents of SB 256 are expecting that the elimination of payroll deductions will reduce our membership numbers, undermine local union operating budgets, and weaken the voice of educators who are often the only ones to stand against policies that do not serve students in our public schools. That's exactly why HCTA is working to support every member through the eDues set up process.
If you are a member of HCTA and haven't yet made the move to eDues, there's still time! Please check your home email for the invitation titled 'I'm sticking with my union!' If you need the link resent, or if you need direct assistance to complete the move to eDues, contact Lisa Masserio or Val Smith.
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.
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!
As of March 6th, the HCSD website shows 67 full-time instructional vacancies posted for the 2021-22 school year. Classroom teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, and social workers are in high demand and seemingly short supply. Moreover, every vacancy represents potential
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.