United School Employees of Pasco
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USEP Update – Friday, Aug. 7, 2020
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USEP Update – Friday, Aug. 7, 2020

Per our conversation of a week ago, USEP’s injunctive process continues with our attorney and our state affiliate, FEA. FEA Legal has asked us to wait until next week for any formal actions so as not to interfere with their statewide efforts, which do include Pasco County. You may know by now that the FEA statewide lawsuit had a hearing this week which resulted in the venue for hearing the case was changed from Miami to Tallahassee. We will keep you informed of both processes.

In continuing advocacy for a virtual opening, USEP organized a rally at the School Board meeting on August 4, 2020. Many members and parents participated, and several were interviewed by local news outlets and press, giving us further coverage of our concerns. USEP President, Don Peace again strongly advocated to the Board for a virtual opening. One Board member reiterated support for that idea on a monthly basis.

We are in touch with our counterparts in Hillsborough County to gather information as to how they were able to get School Board approval for a virtual opening and retain funding per the D.O.E. Emergency Order.

USEP settled its Class Action grievance for transportation with the District. The Grievance Resolution requires Emergency Lists to be compiled at each bus compound by District seniority. This will ensure drivers and assistants will be called for emergency opportunities based on District seniority and is a huge win for our union in supporting employee seniority language.

USEP also advocated for virtual instruction until August 24, 2020, at the Central Pasco Girls Academy. This coincides with the rest of the District virtual programs. They will begin face-to-face instruction with the rest of the District and keep their planning days.

We know that you are hearing about extended time for each day for Instructional Employees.  This is to make-up the time that exempt employees are being paid ahead. This does not affect SRP who are hourly employees. This item is in the survey and based on your responses we will be addressing how this time is made up with the District as we believe there are many options.

The current USEP Survey is still open with several concerns and issues we need you to weigh in on. It is open until Sunday at noon. Please fill it out and pass it on to co-workers to make sure they also fill it out. It was sent to all SRP and Instructional employees, members or not. Here is the link to the survey if you need it:

We did not include eating breakfast with students on our survey as we are pursuing other avenues to deal with those issues. Eating lunch with students is to be completely voluntary. USEP believes those are both contract violations if required and will address them as such. The business reps will be reaching out to the building reps to get a report of how each worksite is dealing with these two concerns.

Many of you have been asking about the Employee Screener and liability. We are reaching out to FEA to get a legal opinion of whether the NEA Umbrella Liability Policy would cover a parent coming after an employee with legal action for their child getting COVID in their classroom. We will update you as soon as we get that information.

Most of the conversation that has been taking place has all been primarily around the emergency decisions related to COVID and the return to work. No formal Bargaining has occurred with either SRP or Instructional Teams and we are not sure at this point when that might begin. As many of our Instructional members know, our legislators have again laid out plans that diminish your role as educators. The mandatory raise in pay will eat up most of the money coming to the District. Please understand this is not Pasco County Schools nor USEP. This was done again by our public education friends in Tallahassee.

Please stay safe and keep checking our website and posts for updates.

Don Peace, President

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If you are an employee of Pasco County Schools and not already a member of USEP, consider joining today! Members are eligible for a wide range of benefits through our affiliates and benefit partners. USEP also provides members with professional development opportunities and representation for member issues.