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Lee’s ‘effective’ teachers to get raises

By Staff | Nov 20, 2014

Administrators of The School District of Lee County who receive an “effective” or “highly effective” rating will receive a 3.3 percent salary adjustment, effective July 1.

“All teachers will be getting the 3 percent raise as well as administrators,” Board Member Mary Fischer said. “We feel encouraged that we were able to give everyone a raise.”

The raise will have a $1.028 million fiscal impact on the district.

“Hopefully that will help bring us up to a point that it gives good faith that we want to pay them what they are worth and that they are valued,” Fischer said.

The School District of Lee County Administrator Evaluation System determines the “effective” and “highly effective” rating for the compensation. The rating can also be determined by another Florida public school’s administrator evaluation.

Board Member Steve Teuber said the district is below the state average, as well as neighboring districts. He said Lee County is still far below Collier County, which is two-thirds the size.

The 3 percent raise, Teuber said continues to close the gap, which makes the district more competitive. He said the district does not want to have the highest pay scale, but they also do not want to have a pay scale where people want to leave the district.

“If we don’t have the best school system that is one thing, but to lose them because we are so far below in pay, that is where we don’t want to be,” Teuber said.

Fischer said it is important to get good, highly qualified people for the district and keep them.

She said if the economy continues to improve, she hopes to continue to up the pay scale in years to come for teachers and administrators.

“I really appreciate our hard-working and dedicated staff who are in the trenches every day who do the best for our kids,” she said.

The school board also approved additional compensation for hard-to-staff schools, including East Lee County High, James Stephens International Academy, Franklin Park, Fort Myers Middle and Lehigh Acres Middle. Up to a $3,000 bonus will be given to eligible principals or assistant principals who receive an effective or highly effective rating.

The bonus is determined by the total school based administrator evaluation system, as well as the manager portion and Value Added Model.

A salary adjustment and bonus will not be given to those who receive a “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” rating.

TALC President Mark Castellano said the raises teachers received are based on a flat amount in accordance with Senate Bill 736. He said the vast majority of teachers will get a flat raise of $1,463.

Teachers that had a managers rating of highly effective last year, who are on an annual contract, Castellano said will get a $1,950 raise.

“That will be a relatively small number of people,” he said.

Castellano said he has been struggling with the idea of how contract status determines with less or more money.

“The system and the rules of the system just don’t make any sense,” he said, adding that the Department of Education has to take the disasters the legislature creates and make sense of it.

The teachers had ratified the raise at the end of October. With it being ratified by the board, Castellano said the teachers will receive retroactive pay back to July 1, plus the new salary amount on Dec. 15.

“They are pleased to get a pay increase,” he said.