Nearly 7,000 Palm Beach County teachers will receive a 3.5 percent raise, while more than 4,000 will receive a 2.75 percent raise, under a tentative agreement reached Wednesday evening between the School District of Palm Beach County and the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association.
The proposed raises are the highest among the large urban districts in Florida. Teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools received an average overall increase of 2.6 percent for the 2017-2018 school year, and Orange County Public Schools’ tentative agreement for teacher raises is 2.2 percent overall for the 2017-2018 school year.
“This tentative deal for salary increases may be the largest increase in the state for teachers,” said Superintendent Robert Avossa. “Our teachers and students are getting impressive results in our classrooms, and we want to recognize that. However, it’s still not enough, and we need our leaders in Tallahassee to step up and adequately fund Palm Beach County public schools.”
The District will also extend the state’s Best and Brightest one-time bonus to more than 1,300 teachers left out of the state program. Between the bonus and salary increase, the average teacher will see a 5.4 percent raise.
Under the tentative agreement, teachers rated as Developing would receive a .5 percent cost of living adjustment, as would new teachers hired this school year, since those teachers have not yet received performance evaluations.
The proposed raises are retroactive to July 1, at a cost of more than $23.3 million to the School District. The District has also spent $10 million to offset health care increases, keeping employee premiums from increasing.
The tentative agreement still must be ratified by members of the Classroom Teachers Association. It will go before the Board on December 13.
“I want to thank both the District and CTA negotiating teams for their diligent efforts to reach a settlement,” said Mike Burke, the District’s Chief Financial Officer. “Our teachers will be able to go into the holiday break, knowing that a deal has been reached.”
Salary negotiations are also underway with the Service Employees International Union/Florida Public Services Union, which represents employees including bus drivers, custodians, maintenance, facilities, food service and other operations employees; and with the Association of Educational Secretaries and Office Professionals.