Friday, October 23, 2015

Brevard County Teacher Salaries At Historical Low





BREVARD COUNTY, Florida - Salaries for Brevard County Public School teachers reached an all time low in 2014, according to data compiled by the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR).


BEBR computed the average teacher salary of all degree levels in constant 2005 dollars. The term "constant dollars" refers to a metric for valuing the price of something over time, without that metric changing due to inflation or deflation. Constant dollars are used to compare the "real value" of an income or price to put the "nominal value" in perspective, according to BEBR. 

When adjusted for inflation, Brevard's average teacher salary in 2014 was $39,557.52 - an all-time low. However, those average teacher salaries hit a 20-year-high in 2007 as a result of increased revenue from the housing boom and heavy borrowing by the School Board.

The BPS administration is proposing a raise and additional benefits for teachers that will cost taxpayers $14.3 million as a result of a negotiated settlement for the 2015-2016 contract between BPS and the Brevard Federation of Teachers union.  The Brevard County School Board will vote on the salary increase and benefits package during a special School Board meeting at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, October 26, 2015. 


Teachers who were ranked "Highly Effective" in last year's evaluation will receive a $2,400 raise while "Effective" teachers will receive a $1,962 raise. Teachers ranked "Non-Performing" will also see a Cost of Living Adjustment raise of $650. Last year, "Highly Effective" BPS teachers received a $950 raise and "Effective" teachers were given a $740 raise. 

Of the approximately 4,800 teachers who work for Brevard Public Schools, 68.8% were ranked "Highly Effective" and 30.5% were ranked "Effective," according to Florida Department of Education data.   

Although the half-cent sales tax was presented to voters as earmarked solely for capital repairs and improvements, software, and security, the BPS administration reclassified many of its operating expenses as capital expenses. This reclassification freed up money in the operating budget for teacher raises and other discretionary expenditures which former BPS Superintendent Brian Binggeli called "new money" during a presentation to School Board members this past summer.

Teachers will also not have to perform as much instructional time as part of the agreement. Teachers were given every Wednesday as an Early Release Day - a major school calendar change which was not presented for public debate by the School Board that has since drawn harsh criticism from many parents. Teachers will also have 35 minutes of protected planning time each week and a Teacher Workday on March 11. 

Benefits were changed so that the $300 pharmacy deductible has been eliminated with no increases in employee premiums, deductibles, or co-pays. National Board Certified Teachers will receive a $250.00 supplement and  academic and athletic supplements were also increased. 
Dr. Desmond Blackburn. Photo Credit: BPS

New BPS Superintendent, Dr. Desmond Blackburn, said in a video that the agreement provided, "needed relief and well-deserved compensation for all teachers."  

“I would like to thank all who served to negotiate this contract for their outstanding work to cooperatively finalize the 2015-2106 contract,” states School Board Chair, Amy Kneessy. “This is wonderful news for our teachers who work so effectively to serve our students.”




EDITOR'S NOTE: This story originally stated that teacher salary was at an all-time high in 2014 based upon BEBR data. However, after the initial story ran on Friday, BEBR received complaints and an error in the data was discovered. The 2014 figure had not been adjusted into 2005 dollars, according to an email from BEBR explaining the change. This story has been changed to reflect the change in BEBR data.