Sarasota County School District begins collective bargaining with Sarasota Classified Teachers Association

School Board offers to upgrade classifications for certain employees, which would result in higher pay for them

Superintendent Todd Bowden. Photo courtesy of the Sarasota County Schools

Negotiations between the Sarasota County School District and the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association (SC/TA) began this week, the district announced.

“Although salaries for both instructional and classified staff are being discussed, the Sarasota County School Board has highlighted select classified employees for this session of contract negotiations,” a news release explains. The school district has put forth the following offer to the SC/TA for consideration, the release points out:

  • Establishing a minimum wage of $12 per hour for all School Board-appointed classified employees with the long-term goal of increasing this to $15 per hour.
  • Upgrading the designation of instructional aides at Oak Park School from SSP-3 and SSP-4 classifications ($11.84 and $12.59 per hour) to an SSP-7 classification ($15.21 per hour).
  • Upgrading the designation of bus drivers from an SSP-5 classification ($14.22 per hour) to an SSP-7 ($15.21 per hour).

“(Salary schedules are averages for new employees,” the release emphasizes.)

“I am excited to put forth a fair and equitable proposal to the union that offers salary increases for select classified staff,” said Superintendent Todd Bowden in the release. “The initial offer made to the union allows classified staff to be closer to the average hourly salary that other school districts in our area offer their employees,” he continued. “I am optimistic the school district and SC/TA will agree on a new contract that benefits all our employees, and we look forward to a productive and successful negotiation.”

Earlier this spring, the Sarasota County School District conducted a regional salary study for specific positions, using the consulting firm Evergreen Solutions of Tallahassee, the release notes. “The study concluded that select Sarasota County employee positions were paid below the regional average. The initial offer put forth to the union allows these employees to be on par with their counterparts in other school districts,” the release adds.