As is true of every year's bargaining efforts, CCEA is dedicated to ensuring all educators in Citrus Schools receive substantive and equitable pay raises. Each year seems to present a different set of challenges--performance pay requirements, Best & Brightest bonuses, etc--and this year is no exception.
The Teacher Salary Increase Allocation (TSA for short) is the latest iteration of legislatively mandated contraints on the bargaining of teacher salaries. The TSA funds are provided in the state budget for the purpose of increasing the minimum base salary for full-time classroom teachers as defined in FL statute. The TSA may ONLY be spent as described in law. HB641 establishes the TSA and HB5001 (the general appropriations bill/state budget) provides implementing language.
In spite of the amount of media attention surrounding the 2020 Teacher Salary Allocation included the state education budget, there remains a great deal of confusion regarding teacher pay raises this school year. Some essential clarifications are provided here for your review:
- The TSA ONLY requires that full-time classroom teachers be guaranteed the improved minimum salary. Other instructional staff as defined by statute are NOT required to receive the minimum salary, though certified PreK teachers ARE counted as full-time classroom teachers for the TSA.
- The TSA specifically excludes paraprofessionals and substitute teachers.
- Though statute establishes $47,500 as an aspirational minimum salary level for teachers, the state budget falls well short of providing enough funding to bring every teacher in the state to a $47,500 minimum. Citrus County's portion of the allocation is $2,480,741.00. --charter schools included. In Citrus, it would take more than twice that amount to move every teacher below $47,500 up to $47,500.
- Implementation language in the budget requires the districts to use 80% of the TSA to increase the minimum salary level, but allows the other 20% to be used for other instructional staff (ie, non-classroom teachers and those making more than $47,500).
- Because statute establishes an increase in the minimum salary, rather than the starting salary, it is required that no full-time classroom teacher make less than the new minimum established with the TSA. This means that any teacher making less than the minimum MUST be improved to the new minimum (ie, first year teachers will NOT make more than teachers who have years of experience in the district).
- Elevating all teachers below the new minimum salary to a single pay level creates compression in the pay schedule. Depending upon how high the new minimum salary reaches, districts could see first-year teachers and mid-career teachers earning the same salary.
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE:
- The Best & Brightest bonuses have gone away. The funds which once went to teachers in the form of bonuses rather than raises have now been moved into the TSA. For what it's worth, the elimination of bonuses was a good thing:
- bonuses are unpredictable year over year
- bonuses were ineffective in improving student outcomes
- bonuses did not effectively address the teacher shortage through either recruitment or retention
- bonuses do not count as income toward the calculation of retirement under the Florida Retirement System
- Pay for Performance increases have been waived for the 2020-21 year. Without summative teacher evaluations from the 2019-20 school year, there is no performance measure on which raises could be based.
- Citrus' insurance increase for 2021 will be MINIMAL! As presented to the School Board earlier this month, the total increase is expected to be only half a percent (.5%)