FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County teachers and the school district have reached a tentative contract agreement for the new school year.
A joint news conference between Broward County Public Schools and the Broward Teachers Union was held Tuesday to announce the details.
Under the terms of the tentative agreement, teachers will receive a 2.16% base salary increase, retroactive to Jan. 1.
"It's been terribly needed for a while," special education teacher Hal Krantz told Local 10 News. "I mean, we have teachers like myself that have lost not only salary, but we've lost our pension money."
Beginning July 1, teachers will receive an additional salary increase, funded by referendum money, ranging from $2,300 to $8,000 annually. It's a raise made possible thanks to a tax referendum approved by Broward County voters last year.
Union leaders said the extra money makes up for a lack of funding from the state.
"Unfortunately, our state sometimes doesn't realize that they need to add more into the budget and that salaries were being harmed, resources were being harmed," union president Anna Fusco said.
The additional increase will be in place through the 2022-23 school year, at which time the extra money could dry up if voters don't extend the referendum.
"It's a concern that we have, but we just feel that once the public realizes that teachers are getting these extra monies, it's going to be very hard for them to turn around and say, 'OK, we're going to take that money away from you,'" Krantz said.
Broward County Public Schools will also continue to pay 100% of the cost of health insurance for employee-only coverage through the end of the year. Thereafter, the district and union will work to implement cost-effective improvements to the plan.