Miami-Dade public school leaders, teachers union reach salary deal

The Miami-Dade school district and its teachers union reached a tentative contract agreement Friday that gives teachers a raise.

As parents prepare their children for the first day of school on Monday, district officials and United Teachers of Dade reached a deal that affects nearly 30,000 employees across the school system. The plan includes an average 3 percent salary increase, and healthcare costs will either be equal to or lower than last year’s, according to the district.

The pay increases, which are retroactive to July 1, range from 1.23 to 6 percent, depending on the employee’s step.

Under the agreement, most teachers will have equal or lower healthcare costs than last year with upgraded pharmaceutical benefits. Teachers will still have a free healthcare option.

“Going back to school with salaries and benefits in place on the first day of work helps teachers and support professionals have a brighter outlook as they open the 2015-16 school year,” said a statement on the union’s website.

Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvahlo touted the deal as a “historic” in a statement Friday.

“Despite years of economic challenges and tax shortfalls, we were still able to negotiate an agreement that dignifies and honors the teaching profession,” he said.

District and union officials also adjusted the teacher evaluation process in the agreement.

Under the agreement, the salary and benefits compensation package for United Teachers of Dade employees is worth more than $52 million, representing a 4 percent growth.

This tentative agreement still needs to be ratified by union membership and approved by the school board.