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District settles teacher, staff contracts

The Franklin County School Board has settled contracts with both its teacher’s union and with its support staff, resulting in raises for both parties.

By unanimous consent at meetings in April and May, the board approved the deals, which will affect pay dating back to the start of the fiscal year July 1, 2021, 

The respective unions also approved the contracts by wide margins.

In the case of the Franklin County Teachers Association, the deal will cost the district an additional $51,534 for the Performance Pay raises, which come out of general fund monies and are extended to teachers based on their performance and Florida statutes. 

Karen Peddie, the district’s human resources officer, said the district has one teacher deemed Highly Effective, and they will receive a $1,500 raise. There are 33 others who have been rated as Effective, and they will each get an additional $1,000.

For those veteran teachers who are grandfathered under the previous “tenure” system, there are nine who are deemed Effective and they each will get an additional $1,000.

The deal also includes a supplemental, $400 for a semester and $800 for an entire year, to mentor teachers who satisfactorily serve as a peer for a newly hired teacher, long-term substitute or degreed long-term substitute.

In addition, the contract calls for a single supplemental contract of $2,307 for the head coach of the newly-created flag football team, and the same for the golf coach, who will now be overseeing a combined girls and boys team.

Guardians, who are those staffers trained to carry firearms on campus, will each get a $500 supplemental, and there will be a $3,955 supplemental for the concession stand coordinator.

Bereavement leave has been extended from three to five days of paid leave upon request. 

“I am pleased to see teacher pay going up,” said Tara Klink, the union president who represented the teachers at the talks. “It is frustrating that more money has to be allocated to beginning teacher salaries, so veteran teachers are not being adequately compensated for their years of service, but those guidelines come from the state. 

“I am concerned about teacher scores, which our raises each year are based upon, being impacted by some of our unprepared district practices, but we are attempting to work together to resolve issues and plan for the upcoming school year,” she said. “A strong and prepared school district and leadership team will create informed, outstanding teachers who will be ready to provide a quality education to our students.”

Shannon Venable, the district’s finance director, said the cost of the new support staff contract will be $67,317 for 77 positions. “This is an estimation as the para-professionals working as substitutes and the gatekeepers vary each year,” each year. 

She said that 10-month staffers will be getting a 2.5 percent increase retroactive to July 1, 2021, while those employed on 12-month contracts will receive a 1 percent increase.

The employee work year shall be 232 days per year for all 12-month employees, six of which shall be paid holidays – Thanksgiving, Friday after Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and 25, New Year’s Day and Labor Day.

The lead voluntary pre-kindergarten teacher will get a mentor supplement of $400 per semester, and $800 per year, while paraprofessionals who serve as substitute teachers will get a $5 per hour increase, not to exceed $35 per day.

The Support Staff of the Year for each campus will get a $500 bonus and there will be an alternative school paraprofessional supplement of $667.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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