USEP and District Reach Agreement and Turn Focus to Next Year
Wednesday, March 6th USEP and District negotiation teams settled their contracts for the current school year. There will be no furlough days.
Actual language and summaries of the settlements are posted here.
The agreement continues to maintain a fully-board-paid employee health plan, an item that has been in danger over the last years due to budget shortfalls.
This year’s budget, like last year’s, was built upon two employee furlough days. Last year, the teams agreed to the furlough days and gotone of the days reimbursed from Insurance savings at the end of the year.
This year USEP made it clear that they would not agree to furlough days. The previous Superintendent never addressed the issue during negotiations and left it to the new Superintendent. Much to his credit, Supt. Browning instituted some cost savings that offset the need for the two furlough days this year.
After much economic research and wrangling, the teams agreed that since the superintendent inherited the current budget, any real economic improvements will have to come next year. The District spokesperson assured the teams that finding funds for salary improvements was one of the Superintendent’s main priorities for next year.
Again, one of the biggest issues the Instructional team faced was continued negotiation over the evaluation system mandated by Senate Bill 736, the Student Success Act. The evaluation system will never be successful as it is currently legislated. The Florida Education Association has filed court challenges, and USEP staff and members have testified at public hearings, spoken with individual legislators and are in Tallahassee for the legislative session to lobby for changes and deadline extensions to the most egregious portions of SB-736.
Teachers and SRP volunteers give up countless hours over prolonged periods of time to serve on the USEP bargaining teams. Almost everyone on the teams agreed to continue as we need to start bargaining for next year right away. In representing their peers, these teachers and SRP do their best for all.
No one on either the District or Union teams have been happy with the settlements over these last few years, but both sides see light in the near future and are committed to bringing economic progress and security to our employees next year.
A general settlement explanation meeting open to all bargaining unit members will be held on March 19th. Following that meeting, Building Representatives will vote whether to recommend the settlements. The ratification vote is scheduled for Thursday, April 4th.