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Teachers Union Ratifies Contract with Polk County Public Schools

January 17, 2018

Members of the Polk Education Association ratified a new contract with Polk County Public Schools late Tuesday.

Under the newly ratified agreement, teachers will receive a pay increase of between 2 percent and 3.5 percent, retroactive to January 2017, based on years of service and evaluations. Paraeducators and educational support personnel will receive an annual increase of 2 percent, also retroactive to January 2017.

The total cost of compensation is expected to be approximately $10 million.

Voting PEA members ratified the agreement with nearly 100 percent approval.

“I’m very pleased we have reached this resolution,” said Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd. “Our teachers, paraeducators and educational support personnel perform life-changing work for our students every day. We will never be able to pay them what they truly deserve. This agreement does move us forward, and it allows us, as one district, to put the period of impasse behind us and focus on our shared goal of delivering high-quality education to every student in Polk County.”

In January 2017, the School District declared an impasse in the collective bargaining negotiations with its two unions: the PEA and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 2227.

PEA represents approximately 6,700 teachers, 1,700 paraeducators and 550 educational support personnel. AFSCME represents approximately 2,500 employees, including custodians, bus drivers and school nutrition personnel.

A compromise with AFSCME was ratified and approved by the School Board in late 2017.

The agreement PEA ratified Tuesday evening will now go to the School Board for approval. It will be included in the Jan. 23 School Board meeting agenda.