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The PEA-PAC has endorsed the following candidates

August 6, 2018

Candidates for School Board


District 3 – Sarah Fortney is a teacher with 33 years of teaching experience. She will be a strong teacher voice and also understands the importance of support staff work.


District 5 -Jennifer Sabin is a strong parent activist. She believes that the Florida Accountability System is broken and works to bring an end to “test and punish.”


District 6 - Lynn Wilson (Running Unopposed)


District 7 – Lisa Miller and David Byrd  The Endorsement Committee chose to Not Endorse in the District 7 Race. This is an open seat and both candidate questionnaires were in line with our values.


Lisa Miller  brings a strong history of forthright Public Education advocacy to the as well as an understanding of the district policies and politics.


David Byrd as the former PCSB District Agriculture Supervisor, David has a working knowledge of the district’s policies and politics and the concerns we are facing.


Candidates for State Office in the Democratic Primary

Robert Doyel—State Senate District 22


Gwen Graham—Governor


The Republican candidates were invited and chose not to participate in the endorsement process, therefore we have no recommended Republican candidates in the primary.


For more information on voter registration and polling places visit the Polk Supervisor of Elections


Guardian Program

April 13, 2018

PEA applauds the Superintendent Byrd’s position not to arm existing PCSB staff but, instead, to hire School Safety Specialist staff persons. These employees, who will be fully vetted, tested and trained per the Guardian guidelines, will insure that each campus, not currently covered by an SRO, will have a trained Guardian in the event of an active shooter incident. This compromise, having been worked out with Sheriff Judd, will allow all campuses additional security measures.  


While having an armed, uniformed, trained security staff comes at a financial cost, it is a position that reflects the results of the PEA Guardian Survey. Thank you to the 3,124 of you that responded and shared your thoughts on this emotional topic.  


While it is our sincere wish that this measure would not be necessary, we live in troubling times. Many staff, parents and students want to have protection at hand. We hope the school board accepts this program, as it meets the statutory requirements of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. We further believe that this program should have been fully funded by the Florida State Legislature. Instead of coming, yet again, as a grossly underfunded mandate—that is a ballot box issue.


In Solidarity,



Polk Educator Survey Respondents Oppose Arming School Personnel

April 10, 2018


See full questions and results under WHAT'S NEW

Polk Education Association regularly surveys members for their thoughts and opinions on school-related issues. The number of responses vary depending upon the topic. As the proposal to arm educators is very controversial, PEA surveyed members to find out what they thought of education staff carrying weapons in schools.


56% of Polk Education Association members oppose arming school staff 

• 3,124 PEA members responded to the survey.

• 56% of PEA members responding to the survey oppose allowing trained and permitted education staff to carry a loaded weapon on campus during school hours.

• 46% of PEA members support arming school personnel.  


68% of Florida Education Association members oppose arming school staff 

FEA conducted a similar survey of all Florida public school employees including FEA members and non-members. Of PEA members responding to the FEA survey, 51% oppose arming school personnel.

• FEA surveyed 12,829 Florida public school employees. Of those surveyed, 59% responded that they were members of their local union, and 41% indicated they were not union members.

• Of the 12,829 asked, “The legislature is moving a bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in schools. Are you in favor of arming teachers?” 68% responded “no” (8,752) and 32% (4,077) responded “yes.”

• In that same survey, 668 of the respondents were Polk County public education employees. Of the total Polk respondents, 418 identified themselves as members of PEA and 250 identified as non-members.

• 51% of PEA members who responded to the FEA survey oppose arming school personnel, while 49% support arming school personnel.  


82% of National Education Association members oppose carrying guns in school 

NEA commissioned a national polling company to survey member attitudes about school safety.

• An overwhelming majority, 82%, say they would not carry a gun in school, including 63% of NEA members who own a gun.

• 61% of gun owners oppose arming teachers. 64% of those in gun households oppose arming teachers.

• Two thirds, 64%, say they would feel less safe if teachers and other educators were allowed to carry guns.

• Educators do not believe that this proposal would be effective in preventing a school shooting. Seven in 10 (69%) NEA members say arming school personnel would be ineffective at preventing gun violence in schools.


Gallup found 73% of teachers oppose being armed at school  

Gallup conducted polls of randomly sampled teachers and the public to gauge attitudes about school safety and arming teachers in response to the Parkland shootings.

• Gallup surveyed 500 teachers nationwide.

• 20% of teachers thought that arming teachers would make schools safer.

• 58% of teachers thought schools would be less safe.

• In a separate Gallup poll, 56% of the public also oppose the idea of arming teachers.  



Teachers, Secretaries, and Paraeducators, Ratify Contracts

January 16, 2018

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%, with 86% of ESP voting. The Paraeducator Contract was ratified by 99%, with 72% of Paraeducators voting. The Teacher Contract was ratified by 98%, with 56% of the Teachers voting.

The School Board will vote on January 23rd on 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 February paychecks and it will be retroactive to the start of the school year for 2017-2018 wages and to January 1, 2017 for 2016-2017 wages. 

PEA President Capoziello stated, “PEA is gratified for the support it received as we fought through impasse. It is our hope, that as we begin 2018-2019 bargaining, there is a new spirit of transparency. We also hope that as the District plans its budget for 2018-2019 they take into account wages, hours, and working conditions that are meaningful to our teachers and support staff. Our students deserve a well-qualified staff.” 


Ratification Timeline

January 4, 2018

Tuesday, January 23rd - The School Board will vote on the proposed Tentative Agreements. Ratification is then concluded.


If ratification passes, the school board will process payment in your February 2018 pay check.


All Bargaining Unit Employees Received An Email

December 5, 2017

You have received an email to your school board email account with the all the Tentative Agreements for your employee group.  If you didn't receive an email, please check your Junk Mail or your Spam filter.  You can also download a copy of the Tentative Agreements under WHAT'S NEW.


Your PEA Bargaining Team recommends a yes vote for ratification. While we realize it is a modest salary increase, it does move us forward. Please remember we had to go to Impasse, which is non-binding in the state of Florida, to move these changes. The following items are note-worthy because we began this process with a 0% salary proposal (salary freeze) and a proposed $13 million dollar health insurance cost shift from the district. The district also wanted to remove our Advanced Degree language.


By fighting the impasse here is what we were able to accomplish:

• Advance Degree Language is safe.

• There are modest wage increases for 16-17 (retro to Jan. 2017) and 17-18 (retro to July 2017). Note--Performance Pay/Grandfather pay is consistent with the requirements of Florida Statute

• There were no Health Insurance Increases in 2017 and there will be no increases in 2018.

• There is clear understanding the PEA has not waived any of its future bargaining rights on Health Insurance or on Teacher Evaluation  


You will notice there is a Summary of Changes (in blue) at the beginning of each Article. It is not part of the contract; it is merely a brief explanation of the changes you will find in that Article. The whole Article has been provided so you can read the changes in context. For your convenience, the changes have been highlighted in yellow to make them easier to locate.  The current contract also resides on the PEA website under the Contract link above and is in force until the conclusion of ratification.


We are asking for one last piece of help. Please refrain from calling the Payroll Department and HR to ask questions about this settlement. Your school’s Payroll secretary can answer questions like “what step am I on?” You can also locate pay information in the Staff Portal which will list your current pay scale, pay level, salary, etc. This was a very difficult bargain and your PEA Bargaining Team worked very hard on your behalf. We spent many, many hours trying to get you the best settlement possible. The teachers, paras, and ESP that represent you at the table are terrific and I know you appreciate them as much as I do!  


In Solidarity,



Good News - Salaries Settled Two-Year Agreement

November 14, 2017

Just in time for the holiday, we wanted to bring you some good news! As you are aware at the October 30th Impasse Hearing the School Board sent us back to the bargaining table on wages. The District and PEA bargaining teams met many times between October 30 and last evening. We even continued to meet yesterday while the school board meeting was in progress. At 6 pm last evening the teams reached agreement on salaries for Teachers, Paraeducators, and the ESP (secretary clerical) units. The modest increases are for the 16-17 School Year and the 17-18 School Year. There will be retroactivity to January 1st in the 16-17 school year and to July 1 in the 17-18 School Year.


What follows is a synopsis of the wage settlements for all three groups (including examples):

As a reminder:

• We have worked to move the wages from an initial offer of zero to where we are today

• We preserved the Advance Degree pay language for teachers

• We had no Health Insurance increases in 2017 and will have no increases for 2018

• We will now have two days of Bereavement Leave (this was brought to the table by the district)

• While the School Board did bring their fund balance down and transfer capital money to accomplish these increases, the raises are sustainable

Wages for 16-17 with retro pay to January 1, 2017

• Grandfather teachers, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Teacher Network Managers, will receive an additional $599 added to their base salary

• Annual Contract teacher– Highly Effective will receive an additional $900 added to their base salary, which is 3 levels of movement on the Performance Salary Schedule

• Annual Contract teacher – Effective will receive an additional $600 added to their base salary, which is 2 levels of movement on the Performance Salary Schedule

• ESP/Secretaries and Paraeducators will receive a step on their salary schedule

• ESP/Secretaries and Paraeducators that are at the top step will move to a new top step that reflects a $500 increase

Wages for 17-18 with retro pay to July 1, 2017

• Grandfather teachers, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Teacher Network Managers, will receive an additional $299 added to their base salary

• Annual Contract teacher– Highly Effective will receive an additional $600 added to their base salary, which is 2 levels of movement on the Performance Salary Schedule

• Annual Contract teacher – Effective will receive an additional $300 added to their base salary, which is 1 level of movement on the Performance Salary Schedule

• ESP/Secretaries and Paraeducators will receive a step on their salary schedule  


All numbers are estimates of gross salary only, not a net increase. The date of payout will affect the final monthly and retro check amounts. Any pre-tax deductions such as additional insurance and benefits will also affect your gross salary and the amounts showing on your pay check. You can view your current pay stub in your staff portal. I encourage you to download or take a screen shot of your current pay information from the portal to compare it to the new data that will show up when the pay increases are loaded and ready for payment. The explanations in this email are for base salary only, you must back out any supplements and only look at the base to make this comparison. 


Instructional Examples:

• An Annual Contract teacher on level 005 the Performance Pay Schedule with an Effective Evaluation in 2015-2016 will move to level 007, increase of $600 for 2016-2017. They also have an Effective Evaluation in 2017-2018, will move to level 008, increase of $300. Total base salary increase for the 2 years is $900. This will add $75 to the teacher’s monthly pay once the change is implemented. This teacher will also receive a retro check for the 16-17 wages ($300) to January 1 and the 17-18 wages ($450) to July 1, for a total of $750.

• An Annual Contract teacher on level 009 the Performance Pay Schedule with a Highly Effective Evaluation in 2015-2016 will move to level 012, increase of $900 for 2016-2017. They also have a Highly Effective Evaluation in 2017-2018, will move to level 014, increase of $600. Total base salary increase for the 2 years is $1500. This will add $125 to the teacher’s monthly pay once the change is implemented. This teacher will also receive a retro check for the 16-17 wages to January 1 ($450) and the 17-18 wages to July 1($750), for a total of $1200.

• A Grandfather Teacher, OT/PT and Network manager will receive a pay increase in 2016-2017 of $599 and a pay increase of $299 in 2017-2018 for a total increase of $898. This will increase the salary of the employee by $74.83 per month and they will receive a total retro check of $749, ($249.50 for 16-17 retro to January 1 and $449.00 for 17-18 retro to July 1).

Paraeducator or ESP Example:

• A Paraeducator or ESP/Secretary will move an experience level in 2016-2017 and an experience level in 2017-2018. If the average step cost is approximately $500 that means the total base increases by $1000, or $83.33 per month. The retro pay amount would be approximately $750 ($250 for 16-17 retro to January 1 and $500 for 17-18 retro to July 1). Since the salary schedules in the current contract will not change other than to update the years of experience and add another step you can use the current schedule to see how moving two steps in your pay grade will affect your total salary.


Items still needing to be finalized prior to ratification

Regarding Article 15 in the Teacher CBA (Evaluations) and (Health Insurance) Articles 23 in the Teacher CBA, Article 12 in the ESP CBA and Article 14 in the Paraeducator CBA, the parties will continue to bargain and clarify the language based upon the dialogue at the October 30, 2017 legislative hearing. With the goal of finishing no later than December 5, 2017. If the parties are unable to tentatively agree to the articles stated in this paragraph by the stated goal of December 5, 2017, the parties agree to submit the issues resolved through impasse and tentatively agreed upon articles negotiated during the 2016-17 bargaining cycle for ratification pursuant to law within 30 days. Union officers and bargaining team members are free to voice their views and opinions with respect to any tentatively agreed upon items during the ratification process.  


Ratification Timeline

It is our plan to begin the ratification process in December for both 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. The District assures us that they will make every effort to have the retro pay in the January check. If that timeline proves impossible, the pay will then be on the February 2018 pay check. Please be on the lookout in December for emails that contain the entire packet for ratification and the dates for ratification balloting to begin and end. Thank you for your patience as we work to complete this herculean task.


As questions come in we will try to answer them.

Should we see a lot of the same questions we will not answer individually, but we will do a FAQ email.


PEA is proud of the work done by its bargaining team. We express our thanks to Superintendent Byrd and her staff and the School Board for working with us to find better solutions. As they stated last night at the School Board meeting, it is not enough for all that you do, but it is within the realm of what is realistic within the financial issues caused by legislatively mandated unfunded rules, monies syphoned off for charters and vouchers, and inadequate state funding. These are ballot box issues for the future.


In Solidarity, Marianne