Tentative Agreements Reached With Unions

Negotiators for the St. Johns Education Association (SJEA) and the St. Johns County School Board have reached a tentative agreement on their 2012-2014 contract for the district’s teachers. Negotiators for the St. Johns Educational Support Professionals Association (SJESPA) and the St. Johns County School Board also reached a tentative agreement on the 2012-2014 contract for the district’s non-instructional employees.

Highlights of both contracts:

  • In January 2013 all professional employees will move one step and those employees at Step L will receive a supplement of $700.
  • In July 2013 all professional employees will move one step and those employees at Step L will receive a supplement of $900.
  • Retain the supplement for middle school teachers opting for up to 36 hours of additional planning time and the supplement for high school teachers who teach a seventh period class.
  • Change in language for Reduction of Personnel and Teacher Assessment to reflect new statutory requirements.

“Having a tentative contractual agreement that sets compensation for the next two years is beneficial for both the employees and the district,” said Tim Forson, deputy superintendent of Operations and chief negotiator for the St. Johns County School District (SJCSD). “We were able to work cooperatively to settle the contract which is a testament to the leadership among the SJEA and the SJESPA as well as the School Board and the Superintendent.”

“Settling the contract is always a challenging endeavor, but it was made easier because of the working relationship that exists between the SJCSD and SJEA,” said Mary Ann Collins, chief negotiator, SJEA. “While we did not agree on all the issues the bargaining team is pleased with the final outcome. The major concern was salary and our teachers will start moving along the scale beginning with a step increase in January 2013. We will never compromise the quality of instruction and we want our students to continue to have the best education and achieve all their goals as we remain the number one school district.”

“It continues to be a difficult financial period and the understanding of the fiscal situation by all those involved in bargaining was critical to reaching an agreement,” Forson added.

“SJEA is pleased that we could come to a tentative agreement with the SJCSD as the 2012-2013 school year begins, said Dawn Chapman, president, SJEA. “The cutbacks in education funding, less revenue from local tax dollars and the continuous growth of the St. Johns school system all impacted this year’s negotiations. After much deliberation through the negotiation process both sides reached consensus and teachers will vote on the proposed settlement. The high performing teachers in St. Johns County will never be rewarded for all of their dedication to students unless the Legislature starts making public education a priority by funding mandates and passing legislation that supports teachers and students.” “This was a collaborative effort between administration and the union,” said Cathy Weber, director for human resources, SJCSD. “The negotiation process worked as intended with regular discussions back and forth for a couple of months. Both parties made compromises for the good of the district and its employees while keeping fiscal responsibility in the forefront.”

During the past few years the SJCSD has moved its average salary for teachers from the bottom quartile in the state to the top quartile.

Following ratification, the Tentative Agreements will be presented to the School Board for acceptance.

SJEA is the recognized bargaining agent for the approximately 2,000 instructional personnel in the school district including teachers, media specialists, guidance counselors, deans and psychologists.

SJESPA is the recognized bargaining agent for the approximately 1,500 non-instructional personnel including teacher aides, clerical staff, bus drivers, custodians, maintenance and food service.