Polk County Public Schools has reached a tentative agreement on salary and contract negotiations with the Polk Education Association (PEA).
All teachers, paraeducators and educational support (clerical) personnel will receive a $300 annual cost of living adjustment (COLA), which will be added to their salaries, under the terms of the proposed settlement.
“I am extremely pleased that we have reached this agreement with the PEA. We came together at the negotiating table, looked at what is in the best interest for our teachers, paraeducators and educational support personnel, as well as the district as a whole, and we worked together toward a mutually acceptable resolution. This agreement is the product of a lot of hard work on both sides of the table, and a shared commitment to our staff, students and community,” said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.
This COLA increase will boost the starting salary for first year teachers with a bachelor’s degree and no teaching experience to $40,972.
In addition to the COLA, teachers, paraeducators and educational support (clerical) personnel will receive their experience level step or their performance step, which depends on whether they are on the Grandfather Salary Schedule or the Performance Salary Schedule.
The proposed settlement will cost approximately $7.4 million in salaries and benefits. The School Board will consider approving the settlement on Sept. 18, which will then go before the PEA’s three bargaining groups for a vote.
The PEA represents approximately 6,612 teachers, 1,512 paraeducators, and 549 educational support personnel.