Dec. 4, 2017
VIERA, Florida -- Brevard Public Schools tried to resolve an impasse with the Brevard Federation of Teachers Monday by agreeing to its three remaining requests for improved job security, evaluations and compensatory time.
Among the 18 contract revisions tentatively agreed upon by BPS and BFT, three-quarters of which were proposed by the union:
- Annual-contract teachers would be renewed if they receive two “effective” ratings in a row on evaluations.
- Early-release days would move to Fridays.
- Teachers could use compensatory time on early-release days.
- Teachers would be ensured two meeting-free planning times per week.
- Teachers could use 30 minutes of flextime per week – outside of student-contact times – for appointments or other needs.
Those changes would require ratification by BPS teachers, all of whom are eligible to vote as part of the nearly 5,000-member bargaining unit. BFT leaders continue to reject a 1.5 percent overall pay raise, so negotiations remain at impasse.
Said Brevard Schools Superintendent Desmond Blackburn: “I stand in solidarity with any person who feels educators should be compensated consistently with our contribution to mankind. That said, it is false to suggest that this school board and this administration do not value our employees. In support of our employees, we have eliminated assessments, prioritized employee morale, reduced mandatory observations, abolished the PGP, and opened employee health clinics, just to name a few.”
Meanwhile, BPS looks forward to a vote on a contract by a separate union that represents 3,111 clerks, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other support staff. BPS agreed to a 1.5 percent pay increase for all support employees in a collaborative negotiation with Local 1010 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
The tentative agreement with Local 1010 allows for a return to the bargaining table if additional funds for raises are identified. Therefore, support-staff members face no risk of receiving a smaller raise than teachers.
Although modest, the proposed 1.5 percent raise for BPS teachers and employees is not inconsistent with increases in nearby and similar-sized Florida school districts. Among the other districts offering raises of 1.5 percent or less this year: Osceola, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Pasco, Escambia and Leon.
Classroom teachers also can qualify for state-funded annual bonuses. Classroom teachers rated “highly effective” on performance evaluations will receive bonuses of $1,200. Classroom teachers rated “effective” can receive bonuses of up to $800.
BPS and BFT are scheduled to make their cases to a magistrate Jan. 24.
If ratified by Local 1010 and approved by the school board Dec. 12:
- The raise for support staff will appear on the employees’ Dec. 29 paycheck.
- A lump sum of retroactive pay will be included in their Jan. 31 paycheck.
“In addition to providing for this modest pay increase,” Blackburn said, “we used our available dollars to launch strategic priorities such as: re-opening South Lake Elementary, hiring social workers and literacy coaches, increasing school security, expanding gifted programs, improving suicide prevention, and establishing regional busing to increase student access to choice programs.”
Teachers who want to weigh in on the proposals can contact the Brevard Federation of Teachers at 321-636-3323.
Support staff can contact Local 1010 of IUPAT at 321-704-8360.
News media can direct inquiries to BPS Government & Community Relations at 321-633-1000, ext. 796.