Mediation Up Next for Florida Teachers
The continuing contract negotiations between the Florida Union Free School District and the Florida Teachers Association came to an abrupt ending recently when the district decided to two sides were far from reaching a consensus over the issues. As a result, a mediator will begin working with the two groups to reach a new contract agreement to replace their existing contract that is due to expire on June 30th.
A recent meeting that is open to the public allowed residents to ask questions about the upcoming negotiation process, and what issues were in question.
According to Michael Young, a parent with two children attending Florida Schools, the board of education is “pitted against” the teachers. Young stated while speaking at the meeting, “It is not comfortable for any of us because we are taking sides and the town is divided.”
Superintendent of Schools Jan Jehring called the process “typical.”
Frank Gannon, vice president of the union, said he was “flabbergasted” when the board declined to continue negotiations with the union. He pointed out that impasses also occurred in 2016 and 2017.
Jehring pointed out that negotiations are usually not public until after an agreement is reached, but felt comfortable sharing information at the gathering about where both sides were in the process. According to the information, the union is seeking a two percent pay raise which would bring teacher salaries up to $105,000. Teachers also requested incremental raises that would result in those with the most years of service earning $147,078. There are also issues regarding healthcare, tenure differential, graduate credit rates, and sixth period classes.