A contract giving Miami-Dade teachers some $30 million in raises for the 2012-13 school year won their approval late Monday, their union said.
Teachers and school employees OKd the tentative contract by a 64 percent margin, with 11,074 votes in favor and 6,194 against. Just over half of the bargaining unit members participated in the vote.
The three-year contract between United Teachers of Dade and Miami-Dade Public Schools authorizes the first round of raises in three years for about 21,000 Miami-Dade teachers and 11,000 employees, including clerical staff and security monitors. The deal still must be approved by the Miami-Dade School Board.
Like other South Florida residents, teachers have struggled in the recession. The school district, the countys largest employer, did not lay off teachers for budget reasons during the rough economy, as Broward did. But teachers pay has been frozen and they have faced higher healthcare costs.
Of the $30 million for raises, 75 percent will go to the most experienced and highly paid teachers. Boosting salaries for new teachers to $40,000 accounts for 16 percent. About 8,000 teachers in the middle of their careers will see annual raises of about $300.
It makes sense for us to move forward. Its getting a good deal at this moment, union president Karen Aronowitz said.
Aronowitz said that in negotiations for salaries for the next school year, the union would work to improve the pay schedules, known as steps, for all teachers, including mid-career teachers.
On average, the raises are a 2.7 percent increase for Miami-Dade teachers. Non-instructional staff represented by the union will see a 2.25 percent bump. During negotiations, the districts offers included a 1 percent raise and a 2 percent raise for teachers.
Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a statement that the district lived up to what was promised and was trying to create a balance between longevity and performance. The tentative contract touched off frustration with many teachers, especially mid-career teachers.
About a dozen employees protested Sunday outside the union headquarters. Larcenia Dixon, who has taught for seven years, said as a single mom with two kids, the $300 raise wouldnt help make ends meet and she couldnt afford to continue paying healthcare costs for her children.