OCPS, teachers union impasse hearing to take place after Winter Break

The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association in July declared an impasse in bargaining over compensation and benefits.

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The Orange County Public Schools system recently announced the impasse hearing with the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association will take place after the Winter Break. 

The CTA first declared an impasse in bargaining over both compensation and benefits in July. The impasse then went before Special Magistrate Dennis Campagna, who heard the case this fall. 

Campagna’s report was issued Monday, Nov. 8, and followed the two-day impasse hearing over which he had presided in September. 

According to the report, Campagna believes OCPS cannot afford more than small raises for teachers this year, but it should give its veteran instructors a "longevity supplement" and should not do the "unconscionable" and hike employee health insurance costs.

Because OCPS and the CTA could not agree, the final decision now will fall to the Orange County School Board. 

OCPS announced there will be “no public testimony at the meeting, as the School Board will be in quasi-judicial role to make a determination based upon evidence from the hearing and a presentation from the union and the administration.”

However, the hearing will be broadcast on the OCPS School Board YouTube channel.

According to data from OCPS, the average salary for an OCPS teacher is $52,334.

The School Board also said it contributes, on average, an additional $19,877 per teacher for benefits, which includes $5,233 for retirement, $4,004 for FICA, $9,289 for health insurance, $37 for life insurance and $1,415 for other benefits.

OCPS said compared to other schools in the region, it has the highest average compensation. 

The data provided shows Orange County to pay $52,334; Seminole, $51,209.66; Brevard, $50,203.81; and all other counties with average salaries under $50,000, including Volusia, Osceola, Lake and Polk. 

CTA officials disagree with OCPS’ assertions and published edited documents on its website. It argues a better comparison to OCPS would be with other larger school districts such as Hillsborough, Broward or Palm Beach.

The cost of the union's proposal weighs in at $60.6 million per year. OCPS said that for 2020 and 2021, the state legislature decreased per-student funding by approximately 3.5%. According to the School Board Policy District Budget System, recurring expenses such as salaries should not be paid by non-recurring funds.

"As noted by the magistrate, the union’s recurring wage proposal would require drastic steps such as cutting programs and staff," OCPS said. "In 2021, Hillsborough County School District went into a deteriorating financial condition and had to lay off 1,000 employees due to covering recurring expenses with nonrecurring funds."

The district proposed a $2,500 one-time supplement, which counts for retirement. All non-classroom instructional personnel who did not receive $1,000 in disaster relief payments from the Governor, recently received a $1,000 bonus.

The state categorical money left over from the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation, after maintaining all teachers at $47,500 was enough to give teachers a $25 cost-of-living increase, plus $100 for teachers rated “Effective” and $150 for those rated “Highly Effective” based upon state requirements. The cost of this proposal is $44.7 million.

However, the union did not accept the offer. 

According to the CTA, an experience six-year teacher earns only $609 more than a new teacher. 

Superintendent Barbara M. Jenkins recommended several recommendations for settling the disputed issues at impasse in a letter to School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs.

The recommendations included accepting the Magistrate’s recommendation of the district wage proposal, which is a one-time $2,500 supplement for teachers.  Additionally, based upon expenditures required by the State Legislature under the categorical Teacher Salary Increase Allocation, a Cost-of-Living Adjustment of $25, $100 additional dollars for teachers rated "Effective" on their final evaluation, and $150 for teachers rated "Highly Effective" on their evaluation.

The district later offered to fund a Three-Year Retention Supplement ranging from $500 to $3,000 depending on years of experience for a range of school years. 

The superintendent also recommended that the board reject the Special Magistrate’s proposal and adopt the three-year plan. 

In recent years, OCPS attributed several salary increases that teachers have received dating back to 2013.

In the 2018-19 year, OCPS said teachers received $550 for Cost-of-Living-Adjustment, $1,100 for Effective evaluations, $1,525 for Highly Effective evaluations, a $750 bonus and a 4% average increase. 

In the 2019-20 year, OCPS said teacher received $700 for Cost-of-Living-Adjustment, $1,400 for Effective evaluations, $2,100 for Highly Effective evaluations and a 5.5% average increase. 

In the 2020-21 school year, OCPS said instructional personnel were the only employees to receive salary increases as part of a new state statute that set a minimum teacher salary of $47,500 with categorical funds. 

The union has currently proposed no changes be made to the district’s health insurance programs, although the district noted that the current plan is not sustainable.

OCPS said plan adjustments were proposed with no increase to premiums. Between 2012 and 2014 and 2019 to 2020, insurance claims paid by the district increased $101.7 million, or an average 17% increase per year, over the previous six years.

The adjusted plan can be found here

The Superintendent also recommended rejection of the Magistrate’s advisement of maintaining the status quo for health insurance and supplement for District Nurses in the amount of 5%.

The full CTA break-down can be found on its website

An official date has not been currently determined for the impasse.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates. 







Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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