Enid Weisman, the district’s chief human capital officer, acknowledged during an early round of collective bargaining on Friday that Scott’s publicizing of $2,500 teacher raises during the legislative session makes hashing out an agreement difficult, due to expectations.
“I’m living with those comments, and you’re living with those comments because he has no authority to supersede collective bargaining. He’s thrown us into this. I feel like the hamster on the treadmill,” she said to Ingram.
Districts have been able to submit to the state their plans for distributing the money since last month, though no district has done so yet. Weisman told Ingram and his bargaining team not to expect a proposal until after Thursday’s hearing and a subsequent executive session with the School Board, when members can direct staff behind closed doors how to proceed with negotiations.
In the meantime, Scott and legislators will in spirit be looking over their shoulders, even if they don’t officially have a seat at the bargaining table.
House Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Erik Fresen, R-Miami, said the Legislature left flexibility for districts, knowing they can do whatever they wish with the money. But he said it was Tallahassee’s expectation that the raises would be merit-based and reserved for classroom personnel.
“Once you’re flexible, you’re flexible, and it can trickle down as far down as the cafeteria worker,” he said. “But I would hope that leaders at the local level would not take it to that level and would truly use these dollars on the in-class instructional workers doing the hard work every day.”
Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said the governor was explicit in proposing that half a billion-dollar boost to education spending be reserved for educators. “We’ve made it clear,” she said. “The fact is the governor allocated $480 million specifically for much-deserved teacher pay raises.”