Retroactive pay cut for Manatee teachers | HeraldTribune.com

20 Feb

MANATEE COUNTY – In a devastating night for Manatee County teachers, School Board members imposed a retroactive pay cut of 2.75 percent for this school year, raised health insurance premiums and ended automatic annual pay raises awarded for longevity.

The moves came despite a protest by more than 300 teachers who lined Manatee Avenue West and packed the hearing, many wearing red T-shirts and holding signs saying “enough is enough.”

Even worse for teachers: the pay cut applies to this school year as well, and will be retroactive. Beginning with paychecks in March, a year’s worth of salary cuts will be jammed into the 11 paychecks left in the school year.

That means that a first-year teacher will lose $1,059 in salary, roughly $96 dollars per pay check. A teacher at the top of the pay scale would lose $153 per pay check. Teachers are paid twice monthly.

The hearing was held because district officials declared an impasse after ongoing talks with the Manatee Education Association failed to produce agreement. The salary reductions were part of a $14 million package of cuts. By state law, the School Board acts as final arbiter in event of such a dispute.

“I wish we didn’t have to do it,” said board member Bob Gause. “At the end of the year, we have to meet our budget.”

At times, the meeting descended into farce.

Most of the pay cut was needed because board members last year demanded that McGonegal cut an extra $3 million to address a deficit in the district’s health insurance fund. Yet twice board members voted against the proposals Superintendent Tim McGonegal had drafted to follow their wishes.

And an odd silence then greeted Chairman Harry Kinnan’s call for alternative proposals.

via Retroactive pay cut for Manatee teachers | HeraldTribune.com.

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