The School Board approved a tentative agreement today covering salary and contract negotiations with the Polk Education Association (PEA).
Board members voted unanimously to accept the terms of the agreement.
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 agreement.
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.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the agreement can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y9aqhh4o
The proposed settlement will cost approximately $7.4 million in salaries and benefits.
The PEA’s three bargaining groups are expected to vote on the agreement next month. The union represents approximately 6,612 teachers, 1,512 paraeducators, and 549 educational support personnel.
Last month, the School Board also approved a tentative agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2227, which represents about 2,500 employees, including custodians, bus drivers, maintenance workers, and school nutrition personnel.
The agreement must go before members of AFSCME for a vote. The tentative agreement includes a 1.5 percent increase for a cost of living adjustment (COLA), a salary level for all employees and also boosts the starting pay for bus drivers to $13.40 per hour.
The cost of the Polk County Public Schools health plan does change under these tentative agreements with PEA and AFSCME.
There is still no monthly health insurance cost associated for the individual employee. The employee’s cost remains zero. As in previous years, there are costs for covering family members. The following is a breakdown:
The cost to insure the employee’s spouse would be $594 per month — which would be an increase of $171.
The cost to insure one child would be $105 per month — an increase of $10.
The cost to insure two children would be $210 per month — an increase of $20.
The cost to insure three or more children would be $245 per month — an increase of $30.
There is still no cost for employees, retired employees, their spouses, and children on the Polk County Public Schools health plan to go to the school district’s health clinics.
The School Board contributes each month to make the free health clinics possible. The School Board’s contribution per employee will increase from $20 a month to $40 a month, under the terms of the tentative agreements with PEA and AFSCME.