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Florida Today – Brevard Public Schools wrapped up negotiations with the Brevard Federation of Teachers Monday, with parties reaching a tentative agreement that includes bonuses for teachers.
As part of the agreement, district teachers will soon receive a $2,000 bonus. Teachers who have worked for BPS for 12 or more years will receive an additional $1,100 bonus. The union had asked for a combination of bonuses and permanent raises, but BPS said the district did not have enough recurring funds in its budget to commit to permanent raises this year.
BFT’s initial salary proposal would have raised salaries of highly effective teachers by $1,780 per year and salaries of effective teachers by $1,335 per year and increased teachers’ longevity bonus — a yearly payment of $1,200 given to teachers with 12 years or more experience — by $300. The salary package also included a one-time $1,000 bonus. Altogether, it would have cost the district about $13.5 million, of which $8.4 million would be permanent annually recurring pay increases.
Last week the district offered teachers a $1,500 one-time bonus. BPS Director of Professional Standards and Labor Relations Karyle Green said during negotiations Monday that the district would be able to offer additional money from COVID-19 relief funds.
District officials said at a School Board meeting last week to discuss the use of American Rescue Plan funds that many students, staff and members of the public had suggested that some of the funds could be used to provide bonuses to staff.
BFT President Anthony Colucci expressed satisfaction with the contract Monday, and thanked Green and her team for their work. “I feel like I’m bringing back the best deal I can to our teachers to vote on, so I do appreciate it,” Colucci said.
BPS will also pay $6.2 million toward the district’s health insurance trust fund in addition to $3.8 it will need to pay annually to maintain its health insurance fund. Teachers at schools with 9-hour days will receive an additional $1,000 pay supplement.
Altogether, the compensation totals $24.3 million, according to a BPS press release.
The contract must be ratified by union members and approved by the School Board.
The bonuses will likely be provided in two installments, with the $2,000 coming to teachers shortly after the School Board and BFT approve the contract, and the additional supplement for veteran teachers sent out later. Colucci asked the district to make at least some of the money available by December, but Green said the first check would likely not be ready until January.