Palm Beach County Teacher Salaries Deal Falls Through At Last Minute

The Palm Beach County School District and the teacher's union had a tentative agreement all ready to go that would give most teachers at least a $1,500 raise.

And then, at the last minute, things became unraveled when arguments that had nothing to do with the subject at hand derailed the agreement Thursday night.

The main non-raise squabbles came from language in the contracts, such as a district proposal to teach inmates in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice detention centers, as well as issues with team meetings clashing with teacher lesson planning.

After things fell through, Brian Phillips, chief negotiator for the Classroom Teachers Association, says they're willing to continue the negotiations despite this set back.

"It's just a shame that the district tried to pull a power play at the end," he told the Palm Beach Post.

Chief School District Negotiator Van Ludy had a different attitude: "That was our last, best and final offer and you didn't accept it," Ludy said . "I'm sorry we couldn't agree."

The tentative agreement the two sides came together with would have beginning teachers getting a $678 raise -- the smallest bump of the group. Teachers on step 26 of the existing salary schedule, would get the largest raise of $4,200. The remaining teachers would get a $1,500 raise.

Phillips suggested that the two sides just agree on salary, and then reconvene after Thanksgiving to figure out the language that snagged them in the first place.

Ludy said he would meet with the school board on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and see if they want to agree to Phillips' idea, or declare impasse.

If the two sides do reach a tentative agreement on salary, teachers would still have to ratify it in an online election.

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