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Broward teachers could get average 3.96% raises after months of negotiations

A Broward Teachers Union member applauds a speaker in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 8, 2023. Now, under a tentative agreement, Broward teachers would get an average 3.96% annual raise, on top of referendum dollars they've already gotten. (Carline Jean/South Florida ֱ)
A Broward Teachers Union member applauds a speaker in Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 8, 2023. Now, under a tentative agreement, Broward teachers would get an average 3.96% annual raise, on top of referendum dollars they’ve already gotten. (Carline Jean/South Florida ֱ)
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Broward teachers would get an average 3.96% annual raise, on top of referendum dollars they’ve already gotten, under a tentative agreement.

The agreement was reached Monday between the Broward Teachers Union and the school district after months of contentious negotiations.

It still must be approved by a vote of teachers and the School Board to take effect.

Under the plan, which would be retroactive to July 1:

  • Teachers ranked highly effective under the pay-for-performance plan would get 4.56%.
  • Teachers ranked effective would get 3.42%.
  • Teachers in the grandfathered tenure system, mostly teachers hired before 2011, would get 3.65% if they are rated effective or highly effective.
  • The starting salaries for new teachers will increase from $48,925 to $50,266.

This is in addition to the stipends of between $500 and $12,000 annually they received in August.

The stipends were funded by a referendum voters approved in 2022 to boost teacher pay.

“Our District is currently engaged in difficult funding conversations, but these base salary increases reflect the School Board’s and my commitment to increasing the salary of all our educators,” Superintendent Peter Licata said. “We’re not yet where we want to be in compensating our employees, but I am thankful to the bargaining teams for arriving at this agreement, which will put more money in the pockets of our teachers.”

School Board member Allen Zeman said the net result of the referendum dollars and the new pay increase is a 14% increase in compensation.

The latest pay increase follows more than seven months of tense negotiations.

In November, the district would only offer the 1.7% pay increase earmarked by the state for teacher raises.

The union had asked for 7% and 9% increases in separate sessions.

Teachers packed several budget hearings and public meetings last year to plead for more money, saying they couldn’t afford to live in South Florida.

District officials later offered 3.96% but only 2.7% of that being recurring and 1.26% being a one-time bonus.

“We got further into the budget year with greater certainty about the funds,” Zeman said. “We found some places we could save money in other programs.”

Zeman has proposed increasing the total compensation for teachers — both pay and benefits to an average of $100,000.

“This is the beginning to moving all teachers’ salaries to $100,000, as Allen Zeman has said time and again,” Union President Anna Fusco. “We felt a 7% raise would have moved us closer, but the District is certain they could only offer the 3.9% pot of money, which is equivalent to about $37 million. We expect that next year’s negotiations will move us to Dr. Zeman’s goal.”

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