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HCTA Bargaining Update – 10/12/2020

On Monday, October 12th, the board and union teams met to continue discussions over the teacher salary allocation. HCTA offered a counter proposal to the district’s initial offer, in the hopes of reducing compression. 

While the district’s proposal would push the vast majority of TSA funds to the very bottom of the pay schedule, HCTA‘s proposal seeks to create tiers within the bottom half of the pay schedule ensuring that TSA dollars are spread more equitably, establishing $45,500 as the new minimum salary,  and achieving the aspirational goal of $47,500 for many. HCTA’s proposal also seeks to improve non-classroom teachers to the same levels as classroom teachers. Finally, HCTA’s proposal requests that in addition to the TSA dollars, the school board provide a little less than a half million dollars to ensure all instructional staff receive at minimum a 2% increase this year 

The district team expressed concern that the HCTA proposal may be rejected by the DOE or could be flagged during audit for applying a tiered/banded approach to the distribution of funds. Nevertheless, the district team agreed to take the proposal back for consideration with the understanding that HCTA clearly does not want non-classroom and classroom teachers on different pay schedules and is pushing to ensure salary improvements are not entirely negated by health insurance premium increases. It is anticipated that insurance increases will be again be necessary.

In addition, HCTA proposed an agreement which would reserve a proportionate amount of referendum dollars for instructional salaries and positions. Should the referendum pass, the actual distribution of salary dollars would be negotiated. Funds raised through a local referendum could provide flexible dollars needed to create more equitable salary improvements in future years. To learn more about the local referendum, please visit the Hernando Schools webpage.

No agreements were reached on Monday, but the teams anticipate returning to the bargaining table within days. 

It is worth noting that the challenges associated with achieving equitable salary improvements can be attributed to the statutory requirements which limit flexibility of funds. You can learn more about the TSA on the HCTA website:  http://www.myhcta.org/resources/teacher-salary-allocation-what-you-should-know

 

 

HCTA Bargaining Update – 9/28/2020

Late last week, HCTA and District bargaining teams met to discuss the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation. This pool of funds provided as a categorical in the state budget has prescribed application outlined in FL statute. To better understand the challenges we face in bargaining salary improvements, you are encouraged to visit the HTCA website to familiarize yourself with the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSA).

As of Friday evening, both teams had shared initial proposals. A walk-through of the District’s proposal presented on Friday is provided here for your review:

HCSD Opening Proposal

Impact

HCTA Questions & Concerns

Takes 80% of the TSA dollars and raises the minimum base salary for full time classroom teachers to $46,120

  • 676 full-time classroom teachers will be improved to the new minimum
  • COMPRESSION: Creates compression in the salary range, placing first-year teachers and mid-career teachers at the same pay level
  • Is $46,120 a sustainable entry-level salary?
  • When creating the placement schedule for new hires, will incoming teachers with years of experience be awarded credit that will put them at a higher pay level than our experienced current employees?

Distributes 20% of the TSA dollars to provide a $668 minimum adjustment for all instructional staff

  • Applies to full time classroom teachers who received less than $600 from the 80% adjustment, full time classroom teachers making more than $47,500, and non-classroom teachers
  • INEQUITY: Adjusting everyone below the new minimum to $46,120 means some will receive an increase of $4,663, while others receive only the $668 minimum
  • Is the minimum adjustment enough to offset the rising cost of health insurance premiums?

Does not provide additional Board contribution

  • Board policy requires that a 5% General Fund reserve be maintained
  • General Fund Balance reserve is reported at about 4.5% at this time
  • Because the TSA does not mandate minimum salary improvements to non-classroom teachers, absence of additional dollars may result in separate salary schedules with non-classroom positions starting below classroom positions
  • The TSA funds are both limited and restricted in use; without additional dollars to bargain instructional salary adjustments for those on the top half of the salary range will be nominal

 

Since the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation is tied to full time classroom teachers as defined in statute, non-classroom teachers do not qualify for 80% of the TSA funds. For the purpose of categorizing full-time classroom teachers, the District identified instructional staff who carry a roster of students and provide instruction for more than half of the workday.

Though HCTA’s team had previously shared what was believed to be a reasonable proposal which would have distributed the larger portion of TSA funds in a banded approach and produced a more equitable distribution of dollars across the salary roster, the District expressed concern that a banded approach could be rejected during audit and may result in TSA dollars being reclaimed by the state some time down the road.

HCTA does not believe that the law prohibits bargaining of a banded approach. Distributing 80% of the TSA funds in bands could not only raise the minimum base salary to a competitive level ($45,000), it could ensure that a significant number of teachers actually reach the statutory goal of $47,500 this year.

 

HCTA Hosts Virtual PEP Talk

Your VOTE is Your VOICE

HCTA Backs Local Referendum

August 27, 2020

Hernando Classroom Teachers’ Association Endorses Local Referendum

BROOKSVILLE, FL – In keeping with the professional association’s commitment to advocate for fully funded neighborhood public schools, the representative leadership of HCTA voted to endorse the millage referendum which will appear on the November 3, 2020, ballot. As explained by Superintendent Stratton in a special meeting of worksite leaders, the referendum seeks to increase local operating revenues in order to retain teachers, increase mental health services and enhance school safety measures, provide needed technology for students and staff, and expand access to career and technical programs for students.

Acknowledging that Tallahassee has signaled the need for significant and drastic cuts to the state’s budget in coming years, HCTA supports the referendum as a necessary step in ensuring that the district has the operational funds needed to continue providing high quality educational opportunities for Hernando’s students.

Like so many other counties across the state, it is our hope that an informed majority will embrace this initiative, demonstrating a local commitment to strong public schools. The time to invest in Hernando’s future is now.

Voters are encouraged to read more about the local referendum on the Hernando Schools website. To find out how you can help our efforts to support Hernando Schools, please email vlaborante@aol.com.

HCTA Urges School Board to Prioritize Safety & People

 

As we apprach the return of Hernando students to our schools in the weeks ahead, our message to the decision makers remains unchanged: The safety of our students and staff MUST come first!  Teachers are bracing for a year expected to look like no other. We need the full support of leaders and the larger community to ensure the safe reopening of our schools.

 

Your vote is your voice

AFT President Randi Weingarten’s latest column outlines the urgency of using our voices—our votes—in this life-changing election, when we will make a choice “between President Donald Trump, who has trafficked in chaos, fear, lies and division, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who seeks to reverse Trump’s failures on COVID-19 and the economy, and to unite and uplift the American people.” Besides the four crises we face—a pandemic, an economic crisis, racism and a climate emergency—democracy itself is on the ballot, as Trump continues to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election. READ MORE.

Sept 30th: Day of Solidarity

‘Back to school’ like never before

In her September New York Times column, AFT President Randi Weingarten says that going back to school has never looked like it does now. Weingarten explains that because of President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus, which has been chaotic, contradictory and inept, and the lack of federal guidance and funding, we’re seeing a patchwork of school reopening plans across the country.

August 28, 2020 - HCTA Bargaining Update

HCTA Bargaining Update – 8/28/2020

This week, HCTA and District bargaining teams reached tentative agreement on a comprehensive Schools Reopening MOU.

Chief among the provisions secured in the agreement are:

  • Access to cleaning and sanitizing supplies for classroom
  • Appropriate PPE for teachers commensurate with level of exposure  
  • Restriction on the use of ESE Co-teachers for coverage during times scheduled for delivery of services
  • Expansion of teacher authority and protections, including prohibition of recording without teacher’s consent
  • Remote work plan in the event of school and/or district closure
  • Option of remote work in lieu of leave during quarantine resulting from on the job exposure
  • Protection for use of leaves associated with COVID-19
  • Adjustment to proration of athletic supplements in the event of season cancellation

The MOU requires that the evaluation committee (EMART) meet to review classroom observation protocols and recommend temporary adjustments to evaluation processes or criteria. Further, administrators will be trained on--and teachers will be informed of—any alterations to the process, criteria or instrument prior to the first evaluative classroom observation being conducted. Both brick-and-mortar and digital classroom assignments will be observed by administrators following the normal walkthrough/observation process in the physical setting. Evaluative observations for brick and mortar, digital home learning, and hybrid classes require the administrator’s physical presence in the room.

Additionally, employees on the District’s insurance plan will not pay out of pocket costs associated with testing and treatment of COVID-19 through December of 2020.

Though HCTA was unable to secure class size limits for traditional classroom electives (Art, Language, etc.), the District team offered assurance at the bargaining table that each site administrator has been tasked with creating school-specific plans to address safety measures for transition times, common areas, meal times, and classes with larger student numbers. It will be important that we work with admin to address concerns for areas which pose greater possibility of exposure to the virus. Please contact your HCTA worksite leader to ask for assistance in addressing these concerns as they arise.

The Reopening MOU, along with the other tentative agreements pertaining to the 2020-21 school year, can be viewed online at myHCTA.org. Remember that all other provisions of the HCTA master contract continue to apply, including planning time protection, duty-free lunch, and the 7.75 hour workday.

The parties will be reconvening in the days ahead to address the Teacher Salary Allocation. Please continue to look for updates and information from the HCTA bargaining team in September.