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LEE COUNTY | Performance pay concerns with new teachers' deal

Depending on date of hire, top-performing teachers may not get the largest compensation increase
Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-09 22:19:41-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Some of the teachers working for Lee County the longest are speaking out about not receiving the same pay bump as others. It's a rule in state legislature, not something the school district can fix.

"Unfortunately the problem that was created in one legislative session has and will take years to solve," Kevin Daly, president of the Teacher's Association of Lee County said.

He's referencing Senate Bill 736 that went into effect, July 1, 2011.

The bill passed more than a decade ago has lasting impacts now, teachers in Florida get split into two groups. Those hired before July 2011 still abide by professional service contract rules, those after are on an annual contract.

"We could [since the bill passed] no longer issue a professional service contract to teachers anymore; everybody is now an annual teacher, which means that their contract will be renewed each year," Lee County teacher, Jill Castellano said.

For educators who are still on professional service contracts, there is an issue with pay raises. All teachers are evaluated each year and can receive a highly effective or an effective rating for their performance in the classroom. Teachers like Castellano, regardless of rating, are not compensated evenly.

"I too have a professional service contract, so I, even though I earn a highly effective, I receive an effective amount," she said.

$667 are added to a teacher's base pay for earning a highly effective rating. Those earning an effective rating have about $150 less added to their base pay. It may seem like a small difference, but teachers insist, every deserved dime counts.

With Lee County's newly adopted pay contract, all teachers however, will see a general percent increase.

"It will be wherever their years of experience fall," Daly said.

That percentage breakdown can be found here.