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Dade teachers to get pay raises

Miami-Dade County public school teachers will get pay raises for the first time in nearly two years

By Melissa Arteaga Marti | PODER360.com
Archive Image From 2009

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Miami-Dade County public school teachers will get pay raises and will also get to keep their health insurance -- which is completely paid for by taxpayers – as long as an agreement can be reached by the School Board and the teachers union.

School district officials said the raises, totaling $40 million, were the most they could afford in the tough economy. United Teachers of Dade representatives said that while the amount was less than they wanted, they had no choice but to accept.

 

The increases will allegedly go into affect on Christmas 2009.

Miami-Dade’s 22,000 teachers haven't had a pay raise in nearly two years, and union officials said that some were desperate for more income. The agreement reached would give Miami-Dade teachers an average 1.8 percent raise effective in December.

 

Union leaders said that teachers' salaries will be renegotiated at the beginning of each year for the next three years in order to make them better aligned with the economy. The starting salary for a new teacher will be increased from $38,000 to $38,500 in order to make Miami-Dade more competitive, Carvalho said.

 The salary plan, which the district said will place Miami-Dade starting teachers salaries on par with teachers in Broward and Palm Beach counties, also includes a health insurance program that doesn't cost employees anything, one of the insurance options offered to employees.

"In the middle of the worst economic conditions of our lives, we were able to secure a three-year contract that protects teachers and settles long disputes," said Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho in a statement released to the media.

"While our teachers and school support professionals, who work so hard, deserve more recognition and pay, this contract marks an important turn of events. It starts us back in the right direction toward restoration," said UTD President Karen Aronowitz in a statement released Monday.

Both sides said the cost of the contract was covered by changes in the insurance program, which will now see the district use self insurance to cover health insurance costs, as well as by administrative changes and efficiencies proposed by UTD.

The contract -- still considered as tentative -- must still be ratified by the union and by the Miami Dade School Board before it takes effect.

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