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Ballots counted

May 23, 2016


The teachers, secretaries, and paraeducators represented by the Polk Education Association have all ratified their contracts by wide margins. The ESP/Secretary Contract was ratified by 99.6%, with 84% of ESP voting. The Paraeducator Contract was ratified by 99.6%, with 72% of Paraeducators voting. The Teacher Contract was ratified by 98.2%, with 59% of the Teachers voting.


The School Board voted on May the 10th to approve all three contracts, teacher, para, and ESP, pending the ratification votes taken this evening. Tonight’s affirmative ratification votes, coupled with the Board’s vote to approve this contract, bring this bargain to its conclusion. Employees will receive their Step increases in their May paychecks and it will be retroactive to the start of the school year for most employees and to July 1, 2015 for those whose contract year started at that time.


The teachers will receive Step movement and see an additional increase 1.5%. Paraeducators and ESP/Secretaries will receive Step movement with an additional 2% increase in pay. There was also positive movement on the Teacher Evaluation System, bringing it in alignment with the legislative changes passed in the 2015 session. Other items of language were also agreed to and will now be implemented per the new contract language.


PEA would like to thank the School Board for meeting in a Special Board meeting to take their vote on this contract. That cleared the way for a May pay out of the salary changes. PEA would also like to commend the hard work of the many Polk County School Board employees who worked with speed to get the raise into employee checks so quickly.


PEA President Capoziello stated, “I am pleased this process is finally concluded. For a while it looked like we would not have a positive outcome. I would like to thank Superintendent Byrd for reopening the dialogue regarding salary and contract sticking points. She put the right people at the table and suddenly we were able to move in a more positive direction. It is certainly a step in the right direction and gives hope for future negotiations being timely and more positive.” 


Unfair Labor Practice Status

April 19, 2016

This is an update on the outcome of today’s Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Hearing. Prior to the start of the hearing both sides (PEA and the District) entered into a discussion surrounding potential resolution. It was agreed that there is a potential to resolve the issues raised in PEA’s charges at the bargaining table scheduled for April 22, this Friday. To preserve our position and our hearing rights, should we not be able to reach appropriate resolution, a new hearing date has been scheduled for May 5th at 9 am (time certain).


As PEA has reported there has been more positive movement at the bargaining table and the District’s objectionable Teacher Evaluation bargaining proposal has been jettisoned. Together we are currently working on new language and processes that will be more advantages to all instructional personnel, work within the parameters of Florida law, and give teachers more impact on their own evaluation. PEA will communicate after Friday’s bargaining session.