September 27, 2020
The District’s evaluation proposal consists of two changes – changing the timeline and limiting the number of observations. While the District claimed that those two minor concessions were being considered to “help teachers”, we would argue that those concessions would likely be of more help to evaluating administrators than to teachers and all members of our bargaining unit.
This school year is more stressful and unpredictable than any other that teachers have ever experienced. There are constant changes in procedures, policies, and teaching methods –all being made unilaterally by the District leaders without bargaining and without consulting the union. In too many cases, the number of students assigned to teachers has changed weekly and in some cases, daily. Teachers are asked to teach using untested and challenging methods including teaching face-to-face and virtual simultaneously. In other words, teachers are asked to teach two classes at once! Overall, there have been unrealistic and unreasonable expectations heaped upon teachers this school year. Therefore, it is OCCTA’s position that it will take a major reduction in evaluation procedures this year for the process to be fair.
OCCTA’s proposal at this link would allow time to consider changes as the year progresses. We do not know what to expect during a pandemic with medical experts predicting COVID-19 cases could increase as flu season comes and social distancing policies are relaxed. The only thing that is certain this year is that nothing is certain.
We need to discuss and bargain what concessions will need to be made if a teacher contracts COVID-19, is in quarantine, if students keep changing and other conditions take place that would put a teacher on an uneven and unfair playing field as far as evaluation. We also intend to bargain timelines and procedures, including video recording and virtual observations, which is not now permitted by contract.
OCCTA initially proposed the following:
The District’s proposal at this link focuses on changing timelines and removing one observation, which may or may not help a teacher’s score.
We know that at least three other Districts submitted a proposal calling for a hold harmless clause, including St. Lucie and Indian River. The District argues that that was not allowed. However, we believe it is. Bargaining will resume on September 30th at 1:00pm.
Raises and Salaries - Where we are in bargaining
September 27, 2020
This year the salary negotiations are quite different than what we have experienced in previous years. We do not have an evaluation score from last year to apply merit pay rules, and state legislation dictates how the pot of money from the state will be used. (HB) 641 provided $500 million dollars to all school districts to increase the minimum base salary for full time classroom teachers, as defined in s. 1012. 1. “Each school district and charter school shall use its share of the allocation to increase the minimum base salary for full-time classroom teachers, as defined in s. 1012.01(2)(a), plus certified prekindergarten teachers funded in the Florida Education Finance Program, to at least $47,500, or to the maximum amount achievable based on the allocation and as specified in the General Appropriations Act. The term "minimum base salary" means the lowest annual base salary reported on the salary schedule for a full-time classroom teacher. No full-time classroom teacher shall receive a salary less than the minimum base salary as adjusted by this subparagraph. This subparagraph does not apply to substitute teachers.”
The state funding that OCPS received is enough to raise all classroom teachers’ salaries to $47,500 and to also raise the salaries of all OCPS instructional personnel to $47,500.
The chart gives you a quick overall of the differences between the District and the union proposals.
Use the table at this link to compare what your raise would be under the District proposal and the OCCTA proposal.
What the District Proposed
The District proposed spending not a dime more than the state funding that is tied to the raising all teachers to $47,500. No instructional personnel except the classroom teachers (as defined by state statute) would be lifted to $47,500. The proposal would exclude guidance counselors, social workers, media specialists, instructional coaches, psychologists, nurses, behavior specialists, etc. Those over $47,500 or those not classroom teachers would have a raise of 0.63%. Below is the proposal as they gave it to us at the bargaining table:
Below are salary examples from the District showing raises they propose for all teachers after the salaries of all classroom teachers are raised to $47,500.
What OCCTA Proposed
OCCTA’s goal is to meet the state’s mandate to raise all classroom teachers to a minimum salary of $47,500 and increase all instructional personnel who are below $47,500 to a minimum of $47,500 and ensuring that all instructional personnel a minimum of a 3% raise. Teachers deserve a raise. Veteran teachers left out of the state’s mandated plan deserve a raise of more than 0.63%, which is what the District is proposing.
Below is the first page of OCCTA’s Salary Proposal, which explains the compression reduction formula. (Download the entire proposal at this link:
Below are some examples of how OCCTA's proposed raises contrast with the District's proposal:
Does the District have money for raises?
Yes! Any fund balance (reserves) over the state mandated minimum of 3% can be spent on salaries. The OCPS reserves account has more than was anticipated because the health insurance that was predicted to be in the red is in the black. A chart showing where the District over budgets each year is at this link.
Timeline to Submit Plan
The District must submit a proposed salary distribution plan to FLDOE by October 1, 2020. However, OCCTA, like all local unions has collective bargaining rights.
There is no approval process by FLDOE; rather, the only approval is through ratification. The “plan” is submitted to FLDOE as a report only. The report can state, “Still bargaining” or “at impasse” and still be within the law. Lawmakers tried in the legislative session to put FLDOE approval in the statute, and lost. So, the approval process is the same as any other contract proposal which is approval by the board and ratification by bargaining unit members. The district doesn’t have the power to agree or implement a salary schedule without engaging in bargaining.
OCCTA will continue to fight for all members of our bargaining unit to receive a raise higher than the District’s proposal of 0.63%. Teachers deserve a raise more than ever in this stressful year where everyone has gone above and beyond.
The next bargaining session will be on Wednesday, September 30th at 1:00pm. We will be posting the session on Facebook so you can see it after school is out.