Bargaining Updates


bargaining Notes 2015-2016

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. 



April 29, 2016

Tentative Agreement Reached, please click on the links below to open the documents.

Teacher Tentative Agreements

Instructional Personnel Evaluation Manual

Paraeducator Tentative Agreements

ESP/Secretary Tentative Agreements


April 22, 2016

This will be a brief update on the outcome of yesterday’s joint bargaining session. The Polk Education Association and the District are very close to settlement of the 2015-2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Again, there has been movement on money—remember we began with the offer that would have provided for bonuses at best—and are now close to a settlement that will include Steps and a modest raise for all teachers and support staff. We will meet again on Thursday, April 28th in a full day session and anticipate settlement.


Teacher evaluation language will remain in the contract. We are working out the final details of how we will implement the legislative changes that were made in last year’s legislative session. We are also finalizing the upcoming Pay for Performance salary schedule (that will begin next year) that is law in the state of Florida. We still believe there could likely to be a settlement of the 2 Unfair Labor Practices the PEA filed against the District without having to go back PERC.



March 16, 2016

I want to update you on our bargaining status. I am pleased to tell you that there has been a turn at the bargaining table. We have seen positive movement on both money and evaluations. We were at a place where impasse seemed likely. The district and PEA were millions of dollars apart monetarily and the district seemed cemented into a position PEA could never accept on teacher evaluations for ‘15-‘16 and ‘16-‘17 forward. I am now more hopeful that we will be able to reach agreement in the near future.  


February 24, Session 13

The district team brought another $1 million dollars to the proposal, however it still wasn't enough to pay for a full 1% for the teachers.  There was no counter proposal from the district on the evaluation system and the meeting ended early.  The next meeting will discuss the teacher evaluation system in depth and a monetary proposal.


February 17, 2015 - Session 12

Evaluations: Your PEA bargaining team continues to fight for you and your rights at the bargaining table. What remains to be seen is will the district listen. Well over 1000 of you responded to the PEA survey about the importance of keeping your bargaining voice in the evaluation process and thus far it is clear that you feel it is vital. If you have not taken this survey there is still time! (see link) PEA has countered the district’s disheartening evaluation proposal with a proposal that complies with the law and keeps this within your rights to bargain wages, hours, working conditions and matters that impact these issues. We await the district’s response.   Salaries: The district and PEA are now $2,000,000.00 dollars apart regarding salaries. $2,000,000.00 in an over $1 Billion dollar district budget. The district’s current offer would give teachers a Step and a 1/2% (half of a percent). We believe the Board can and should do better! We were told that yesterday’s offer was the maximum amount of money that the School Board had approved to come to your bargaining table. We have asked the district’s CFO to go back to the Board and ask for the additional $2 million dollars. I have verified that the CFO is going to go the School Board in Executive Session on Tuesday February 23rd to discuss our request for additional funding. Please know that we are aware of the district’s budget and also of the state’s budget plan and we believe this not just financially doable but the right thing to do. That increase in funding would give teachers Steps and a 1.5% increase on top of their Step. The district asked your team to sign off yesterday “after all” they said, “all we needed to do was decrease each teacher’s raise by only $450.00”, and we, of course, said NO! We were told we could sign off on our support staff but, as usual, our teams stand together—all for one and one for all! We believe not funding this additional request would show a lack of understanding on the part of the district. With increased stress, increased workload, and no relief in sight this is the right thing for the Board to do! We have watched salary upgrades, new positions added, consultants and programs funded with seemingly little concern. However, getting the district to bring enough dollars to your bargaining table has been a long time in coming. We are glad that School Board members are praising School and Student gains and acknowledging that those gains came via the hard work of those in the classroom and all of those that support the classrooms, they need to understand that financial respect is essential! Please come to the 5 pm Tuesday, February 23rd School Board meeting as we will be speaking on the importance of a fair settlement.  


Wednesday, February 10th, 4:30 - 6:30 pm; Session 11

PEA presented a counter proposal to the district's last salary offer.  The difference between the two package amounts is $2 million.


Wednesday, December 16th - 4:30 - 6:30 pm; Session 10

Your PEA Bargaining Team met with the Superintendent’s bargaining team. We were given a counter–proposal for money that we are now analyzing. Once done with our analysis we will prepare a counter offer. We also received a very concerning proposal regarding teacher evaluations. We will also prepare a counter-proposal to address those concerns.


As to teacher evaluations, am I alerting you to the fact that PEA has filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) with the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) surrounding the Superintendent’s handling of your 2014-15 evaluations. As you recall there was a joint memo sent to all teachers in May stating only the EPC’s would be used for ’14-’15. We believe this unilateral change is a contract violation. More information will be coming on this issue in January.  


Wednesday, November 18th - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm @ PEA; Session 9

The joint bargaining session proceeded with the district presenting their salary proposal. Then, after discussion PEA presented their proposal. There will need to be further review of the proposals. The meeting adjourned without setting a new bargaining date. 


Tuesday, November 3 - 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm @ PEA, Canceled by PEA. 

October 12, 2015 -  Canceled by the Superintendent.


September 28, 2015 - Session 8, Reached agreement on changing the pay grade for Hearing Screeners from PG01 to PG04 and update the language in all 3 contracts on the Florida Statute 1011.62 concerning the designated lowest performing elementary schools. Next meeting on October 12, 2015.


September 16, 2015 - Session 7, Reached agreement on addressing the Hearing Interpreters to reflect the current testing and standards in their practice, Health Insurance will have NO CHANGES in 2016 to the health plan or rates, Overpayment/Underpayment language to clarify and refine the process. Discussion on the salary and wage proposals made by PEA at the last meeting. The district needs more time to cost the salaries and come back with a counter proposal on September 28th. PEA proposed changing the Hearing/Vision Screeners from a PA01 to a PA04. The district will review and bring it back to the next meeting. Discussion of the payroll frequency issue. The district rejects this language for the 2015-2016 school year. PEA will bring this to the bargaining table when we begin the 2016-2017 school year.


August 31, 2015 - Session 6, Discussion on two new job descriptions, one in the ESP unit and one in the Para unit and their placement and salary on the scale. Overpayment and Underpayment language to clarify and limit the recovering time to current and previous fiscal year and limit any repayment to no more than 3% of the gross salary per pay period. Discussion on the health insurance plan and propose no changes for 2016. Salary proposal by PEA of steps and 3.5%.


July 9, 2015 - Session 5, Discussion on many items to clarify previous proposals and develop understanding. There were no tentative agreements and both parties will be refining the proposals on the table for the next bargaining session. 


June 9, 2015 - Session 4 of Bargaining 2015-2016 was held as an all-day session. New proposals from PEA to discuss notification of a schedule change for hourly employees, and updates to the language on overpayment/underpayments, notification to employees of their annual salary, step, degrees, supplements, etc. The team tentatively agreed to remove Appendix G from the Teacher CBA. Tentatively agreed to language that sets a monthly meeting for principals with their elected PEA representatives and language on how to notify paraeducators of a change in their schedule for student orientation at the beginning of the year. 


May 11, 2015 - Meeting 3 of the 2015-2016 bargaining team. PEA presented proposals on a training incentive for paraeducators, inclusion of academy instructors in the bargaining unit, and language to address a uniform school handbook. Discussion items on experience credit, time reporting and attendance, network task force implementation. Next meeting – May 19 @ Boone Middle, 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm (contingent upon the TEAC meeting of May 13th). 


April 29, 2015 - Extensive discussion on how SB616/HB7069 affect Teacher Evaluation and we can make adjustments that benefit the teachers.  End of the Year assessments are in progress and you can check the Assessment, Accountability and Evaluation web page on the district's web site for more information.  The Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee (TEAC) needs to meet and discuss the changes that may take place with how the overall evaluation is calculated.