Lake County Schools reach agreement on increasing teacher bonuses, salaries

The county school board must approve the agreement on Feb. 17

Lake County superintendents answer questions about schools reopening

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – Lake County’s school board and teacher’s union reached a tentative agreement Thursday regarding the 2021-2022 teacher contract, according to school officials.

Lake County Schools, alongside its education association, proposed “a retention bonus for teachers, pay raises, and an increase in beginner teacher salaries,” the school district said.

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The two groups also discussed a retention bonus for Service Employee International Union, or non-instructional, employees.

The district is setting aside $18,676,507 from federal funding for these employee retention bonuses.

The Lake County Education Association must vote to ratify these amendments before the Lake County School Board approves the new agreement on Feb. 17.

“These agreements are the result of collaborative and important work conducted by the district and both unions for our employees, who have exhibited immense professionalism, flexibility and compassion during an extremely challenging time for educators and school employees everywhere,” Superintendent Diane Kornegay said in a release. “I want to thank everyone who participated in this process to help us recruit and retain the best teachers and support staff for our students.”

If the agreement is approved, instructional and non-instructional employees would obtain an initial $2,000 after the board approval before receiving an additional $1,000 in the fall semester of the 2022-2023 school year.

Teachers on the “pay-for-performance schedule will also receive a recurring pay raise of $812.50 for a highly effective rating and $406.25 for an effective rating, (whereas) teachers on the grandfathered pay schedule will receive a $650 increase for a highly effective rating and a $406.25 increase for an effective rating,” according to the district. “State law mandates the difference in pay between the two pay scales.”

The beginning teacher salary will increase from $44,750 to $45,725, in an effort to attain the goal of $47,500.

“This is not everything we would love to have for teachers, but it is a wonderful beginning,” LCEA President Kathy Smith said in a statement. “It’s not enough for how much our teachers have worked, especially during a pandemic, but it was important for us to get something done as soon as possible, knowing that we will come back in the spring to work on many more things at that point. There was a lot of give and take, and a lot of hard work, but we worked together to provide the best we could for teachers at the time.”

About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.