After more than 14 hours of presentations, testimony and arguments, the Orange County School Board and the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association appear to have an agreement.
The two entities found common ground following two days of impasse hearings regarding issues including wage increases, supplements for lead nurses, longevity supplements for veteran educators and the cost of health benefits.
"We are pleased to announce the School Board determined our teachers should receive, pending ratification, the much deserved salary supplement, bonus and salary increase, which is between $2,600 and $6,000 for the 2021 to 2022 school year, depending on years of service and performance evaluations,” OCPS officials said in a statement.
The School Board heard presentations, testimony and arguments by both the union and district.
Highlights to the agreed solution include wages, longevity supplement, health insurance benefits and a district nurse supplement.
According to OCPS, teachers will receive a range of compensation from $2,600 to $3,000. This will include a one-time district supplement of $2,500, a $100 cost-of-living increase, and $200 or $400 based on a teacher’s performance rating of “highly effective” or “effective."
"We are pleased that the School Board voted to increase the cost of living base from the insulting $25 a year to $100," OCCTA officials said. "It is still not what our hard-working teachers deserve, but considering the inadequate funds from Tallahassee, it certainly is a welcome improvement."
In terms of the longevity supplement, the School Board decided on a ESSER, School Emergency Relief Fund, Grant Three-Year Retention Supplement, based on the union's proposed chart ranging from $500 to $3,000, depending on years of experience for school years 2021 to 2022, 2022 to 2023, and 2023 to 2024.
Teachers will keep their current health care plan through September 2022. In October 2022, the new plan will be effective, which includes “no increase to premiums and some increase in deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses based on the plan selected,” OCPS officials said.
The agreement also includes a 5% salary supplement for seven district-level nurses.
“The School Board is committed to continue looking for ways to increase employee compensation,” OCPS officials said.
The OCCTA first declared an impasse, which we first told you about here, in bargaining over both compensation and benefits in July 2021. The impasse then went before Special Magistrate Dennis Campagna, who heard the case this fall.
Campagna’s report was issued Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, and followed the two-day impasse hearing over which he had presided in September.
According to the report, Campagna believed OCPS could not 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 health insurance costs.
Because OCPS and the OCCTA could not agree, the final decision fell to the Orange County School Board.
Now, the School Board determination and any previous agreements between the district and the union will be combined into one document for the OCCTA to distribute to all district teachers for ratification.
OCCTA controls the ratification process.
"OCCTA is committed to collaborating with the School Board to get this done," OCCTA officials said in a statement.
The Health and Safety Impasse is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Jan. 18.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.