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Notice of Teacher Ratification Voting on Tentative Agreements 2016-2017

Voting will be open at 7:00 am on Friday, April 7, 2017 and will end at 4:00 pm on Thursday, April 13, 2017.


The ratification vote will take place by electronic ballot.


Voting instructions will be sent by email to each member of the teacher bargaining unit.  The compilation documents containing School Board imposed contract language as well as tentative agreements will be posted at your school and HERE.

In addition, teachers will have the compilation documents sent to them electronically.

If you have any questions, please contact MEA at 747-5091 or via email at

Teachers' Well-Being at Stake in School Board Hearing

On Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:00 pm, the School Board of Manatee County will convene as Legislative Body to hear the positions of the Manatee Education Association (MEA) and the Superintendent as to the question of what the salary and benefits should be for teachers for the 2016-2017 work year.

The hearing comes after months of negotiations between MEA and the Superintendent’s representatives which resulted in tentative agreements which were rejected by teachers. In addition, a Special Magistrate, an independent fact finder, appointed by the Public Employee Relations Commission heard the arguments of both parties and recommended MEA’s position on salary and health insurance when issuing his recommendations for settling the contract dispute.

Now, after meeting with the Superintendent and her representatives through the entire process and reading the recommendations of the Special Magistrate, it becomes incumbent on the School Board to act as a neutral Legislative Body and listen to the positions and rationale for each issue provided by both parties, MEA and the Superintendent’s representatives, giving equal weight to the arguments of both parties.

At stake in this process is the financial well-being of approximately 2,800 teachers who serve the students of Manatee County every day, as well as this community’s ability to attract and retain teachers in the future. Teachers who work in the Manatee County Schools have taken pay cuts and furlough days due to shrinking state funding as well as the mismanagement of the district’s budget by past administrations. While other districts have provided raises and found ways not to cut salaries, our district has not done the same.

In spite of the lack of financial consideration given to them, teachers have continued to give their all to the students they serve. Teachers consistently take up the slack for budget shortfalls by spending their own money (between $100-$4,000 a year) to make sure their students have the materials and supplies needed to get the most benefit out of their time spent at school.

Teachers have continued to remain committed to their students in spite of our Legislature’s and district’s misguided attempts to show accountability by judging both teacher and student performance by the results of a single test each year.

Teachers have given more of their time by working after their work days (most work at least 20 additional hours a week and many work even more) in order to meet the ever increasing demands of a job they came into because they love the work they do.

Manatee County’s teachers continue to meet the ever increasing expectations of the Manatee County School District in spite of the fact that with every year they fall further behind their colleagues in the surrounding counties. Yet, they have remained committed to their students, but question the District’s commitment to them.

On Monday, March 27, 2017 the School Board of Manatee County has a huge responsibility before them. Will they be able to act as an independent Legislative Body and give equal weight to the information presented by both parties? Will they have the ability to act in the best interests of the teachers, the community and the school district regardless of which party presents the most credible information? Can they truly listen and consider all information equally? Can they consider whether or not they have made students and teachers a priority in their budget?

These are the expectations of their positions as School Board members as outlined by Florida Statute, and they should be the expectations of teachers and community members when they consider what service our School Board has provided to their constituents.

Patricia L. Barber, President

Negotiations Impasse Update

March 9, 2017 - MEA and the Superintendent's bargaining teams met as required by Florida Statute to discuss the Special Magistrate's recommendations and attempt to resolve the issues currently at impasse. 

The Superintendent's team made several proposals, none of which provided compensation, retroactive pay or insurance premiums that were improved over the tentative agreement or the Special Magistrate's recommendation. 

The Legislative Body Hearing has been scheduled for Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in the School Board meeting room.

To read the minutes from the March 9, 2017 bargaining session click here.

Stay tuned for more information about what you can do as we continue to fight for a fair contract. 

Special Magistrate Recommendations Summary

To read the recommendations in their entirety, click here


FEBRUARY 22, 2017

 On the Resolution of the Issues at Impasse

“Any recommendation made from the Special Magistrate process comes from a consideration of the factors deemed relevant by the Florida legislature. Section 447.405, Florida Statutes sets the standard for rendering the recommended decision as a "just settlement." In School District of Manatee County and Manatee Education Association, SM-2011-091, this Special Magistrate stated: “The overall SM scheme provides latitude within this statutory framework for the Special Magistrate to weigh the significance of statutory factors and then reach a conclusion that reflects a fair and reasonable recommendation of the impasse issues. It is not a gathering of points for winning each factor. Rather it is a consideration of which factor or factors should be decisive when examining the overall issue for these parties.”

Recommendation on the Issue of Salary Schedule Adjustments

“The District makes a good case for not paying any more than it allocated in the TA. But a “just” settlement more so favors MEA’s proposal and is so recommended, including retroactivity, as being favorable for the interest and welfare of the County’s citizens… ”

Recommendation on the Issue of Health Insurance Premiums

“Critical to this impasse is finding a solution that would end the impasse and yet still be a just settlement for both parties, one that fulfills the District’s obligation to make sure its generated resources are not over spent and at the same time is one that remains “adequate” and fair for the teachers. This one issue appears to be the stumbling block to ratification and thus needs to be looked at closely.”

“…the Special Magistrate recommends the Board adopt the MEA proposal as the fair and just settlement for this critical impasse issue, including retroactivity, as being favorable for the interest and welfare of the County’s citizens…”

“In all, sufficient evidence exists in this record to recommend that the District has the means to fund this justifiable increase of $$897,660 in its otherwise total projected cost of $52 million, a number that does not change with this MEA proposal.”

Recommendation on the Issue of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

“The COLA proposal is not recommended. The preference for funding the MEA proposals must go to the salary adjustments and the employee insurance contributions. Finding the means to pay for those two significant impasse issues should not be exacerbated by adding another $1M.”

Recommendation on the Issue of Longevity

“The primary concern, apart from the withdrawal issue, is with finding room for the much larger impact items for salary adjustment and health insurance premiums, which are foremost.”

It's About Priorities

Wednesday, January 25, 2016

Thanks to all who walked in supporting the special magistrate hearing today. We appreciate the solidarity shown and the pictures sent to us.  That means a lot.

The Manatee Education Association and the School District of Manatee County presented their cases to Special Magistrate Robert Hoffman.  During the hearing the district and MEA presented information to support their positions currently at impasse.  The items currently at impasse are salary adjustments, cost of living adjustment (COLA), longevity, health insurance premiums as well as retroactivity. 

Next Steps

Magistrate Hoffman has requested that briefs be filed 14 days after the transcript is received.  After briefs are filed, the special magistrate has 15 days by law to render his recommendations; however, Magistrate Hoffman assured us that he will issue his recommendation as soon as possible.

Thank you for your continued support!

Impasse Timeline - 3/14/17

Impasse declared in negotiations November 8, 2016

Parties notify PERC that there is an impasse- November 14, 2016 (SM16027)

November 15, 2016 received the list of seven potential Special Magistrates -If the parties do not jointly request the appointment of a specific individual, the Chairman or his designated agent shall furnish the names and biographies of seven individuals listed on the Special Magistrate Roster. Received list of Special Magistrates

Impasse Declared


The MEA and Management bargaining teams returned to the table on November 8, 2016; however, the district’s proposal consisted of threats of the loss of retroactivity should the tentative agreements (TA) previously rejected by the teachers not be ratified by November 14, 2016.  MEA proposed enhancements in salary and decreases in employee premiums for spouses and families in response to the ratification vote. 

MEA’s proposal included the following:

·        Cost of living adjustment (COLA) of $300 for all bargaining unit employees

Bargaining Update Regarding Next Steps . . .

As you all know, the Para Contract was approved and the Teacher Contract was rejected.

The next step regarding the contract will be to return to negotiations and attempt to resolve the issues that lead to the rejection of the teachers’ tentative agreements. The issues in question relate to health insurance premiums and salary.

Should MEA and management be unable to reach agreement at the table, the parties will be at impasse and the process will be as follows.

·        Mediation by a mediator appointed by the Public Employee Relations Commission (PERC) (both parties must agree to mediation)

·        Special Magistrate, a fact finder who hears both sides and issues a recommendation regarding items at impasse, appointed by PERC. (This happens if one or both parties request a hearing.)

·        Legislative Body hearing is held before the School Board which becomes neutral Legislative body to hear presentations on recommendations by the Magistrate not accepted by either party.

·        Ratification vote by members of the bargaining unit occurs on the decisions of the Board and/or the accepted recommendations of Magistrate.

·        Board action on the items sent to the members of the bargaining unit for ratification. If the items were ratified by the members of the teacher bargaining unit, the Board votes on ratification. If the items are rejected by the members of the bargaining unit, the Board vote will be on whether to impose the contract or not.

In the meantime, it appears that the Board will move forward with ratification and implementation of the Para Contract.

MEA has not been informed by the Superintendent as to what will occur as far as holding open enrollment for Insurance Benefits.

Please stay tuned for future updates.

Thank you for all you do!


Please be advised that the Para contract was ratified and the Teacher Contract was not ratified.

Voting will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, October 24, 2016

and will end at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 28, 2016.


The ratification votes will take place by electronic ballot.


Voting instructions will be sent by email to each member of the teacher and paraprofessional bargaining units.  The tentative agreements will be posted at your school and are posted below.

In addition, teachers and paraprofessionals will have all of the tentative agreements on the respective contracts sent to them electronically.

If you have any questions, please contact MEA at 747-5091 or via email at

PDF icon 16-17_tentative_agreement_-_teachers

PDF icon 16-17_tentative_agreement_-_paraprofessionals