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Superintendent Mullins urges teachers' union to return to negotiations

Sept. 18, 2019


VIERA, Florida – Superintendent Mark Mullins urged the Brevard Federation of Teachers to return to contract negotiations Wednesday to pursue the shared goal of delivering competitive pay raises to teachers as soon as possible.  Officers for the teachers’ union on Tuesday canceled a planned week of daily negotiations without making any counteroffers to the district’s opening pay proposal.


“We’re still at the table, ready to bargain in good faith with the teachers we respect and support every day in our schools,” Mullins said. “If union leaders give us a chance, we’re confident we can negotiate the most competitive pay increase for teachers in Central Florida.  We have listened to our professional educators. We have committed all new revenue for 2019-2020 to raises to ensure that Brevard can compete for teaching talent that best serves our students.”  


Meanwhile, Mullins said Brevard Public Schools wants to move ahead with contract negotiations with Local 1010 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. That union represents more than 3,000 support-staff employees such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and instructional assistants.


For teachers, BPS initially offered a 3.5 percent raise in base pay for the 90 percent of teachers rated “highly effective” (Teachers rated effective would get a 2.8 percent raise).  By comparison, the teachers’ union on Monday had proposed a 4.8 percent average raise in base pay for most teachers. 


District negotiators said a 3.5 percent raise in base pay would help teachers stay ahead of the rising cost of living and help veteran BPS educators catch up with larger pay increases in actual dollars. 


BPS expects no increase in health insurance premiums for employees in 2019-2020, unlike in other Florida districts.


For teachers at different salary levels, the 3.5 percent raise initially offered by BPS Tuesday would deliver the following raises in base pay:


  • $39,026 entry-level salary:   $1,366 raise
  • $48,634 average teacher salary:  $1,702 raise
  • $60,000 senior teacher salary:  $2,100 raise


In addition, the district and BFT both have proposed an additional, recurring salary increase for veteran teachers to help address salary “compression” caused by past pay-for-performance raises:


  • BPS’ opening proposal:  $550 recurring raise for an estimated 2,416 teachers active before July 1, 2007;
  • BFT’s proposal: $2,000 recurring raise for those teachers.


Besides salary, BPS and BFT have both proposed contract changes intended make work conditions better for educators. Among those:


BEREAVEMENT LEAVE: The district offered Tuesday to triple time off for employees following the death of immediate family members, from one day to three days. BFT did not respond to this proposal before canceling negotiations Tuesday.


HURRICANE PREPARATION: The union proposed allowing teachers to leave school early, at the end of student dismissal, if the governor has declared a state of emergency. BPS disagreed with timing early dismissals to a governor’s declaration – which came four days before Brevard County announced a hurricane watch for Dorian -- but remains open to modifying the proposal.


The school district’s negotiating team planned to be at Viera High School Wednesday at 4 p.m. for the previously scheduled negotiating session in case union officials responded to Mullins’ invitation.