Thurs., Nov. 4, 2004

CONTACT: John Schuster
Miami-Dade County Public Schools


MIAMI &endash; Miami-Dade County Public Schools reached a tentative agreement today with the United Teachers of Dade to raise salaries for all teachers and to provide additional pay for teachers in the district's lowest performing schools.

The agreement, which must be approved by the School Board at its Nov. 17 meeting and be ratified by the union's members, provides for teachers to move up one step on the district's 22-step salary schedule. Paraprofessionals and other employees represented by the union also will get a step increase on their salary schedules.

The pay increases for teachers and other employees with 10-month work schedules will be retroactive to the start of the school year. Full-year employees will be paid back to July 1, the start of the district's fiscal year.

The agreement also covers the instructional program for the School Improvement Zone, 39 chronically low performing schools taken over by Superintendent Rudolph F. "Rudy" Crew. Teachers in the school will work an additional hour each day and 10 more days each school year, and will be required to complete 56 hours of professional development within their schools.

As a result, teachers in the Zone schools will be paid 20 percent more than teachers outside of those schools.

"Education is fundamentally a person-to-person enterprise, and we need to have the highest quality teachers working with our students if they are to learn what we know they must," Dr. Crew said. "Treating our teachers and other employees fairly and paying them better directly advances two of our strategic priorities &endash; eliminating low-performing schools in this county and raising achievement for every student in every school."

As part of budget deliberations in September, Dr. Crew identified and the School Board approved $44 million to be set aside as a collective bargaining reserve. The Superintendent has pledged to include such a reserve earmarked for compensation in each year's budget planning.

In addition to the salary increases, the agreement calls for employees to be spared from any health insurance increases in 2005 and lowers the deductibles in some health plans.

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