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Did You Know?

  • MEA negotiated a minimum $544 increase for eligible teachers and a minimum $400 increase for eligible paraprofessionals for the 2014-2015 school year
  • MEA defended members facing allegations of child abuse within the district and at the Florida Department of Education
  • MEA negotiated the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the district that ensures that between 2014-2015 school year and the 2016-2017 school year no teacher will receive a rating of less than effective on the student learning growth portion of the Manatee County Teacher Evaluation System
  • MEA worked jointly with management to survey teachers and administrators and compile information to improve the Manatee County Teacher Evaluation System
  • MEA succeeded in restoring the supplement paid to all guidance counselors
  • MEA negotiated a MOU with the district that ensures Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Funds (aka ‘Teacher Lead’ money) will not be paid via a debit card
  • MEA worked with management to correct pay for ROTC instructors and many individual teacher and para members
  • MEA is in contact with the district administration on a daily basis to resolve issues and problems for its members
  • MEA provides assistance to members with concerns on their evaluations, including understanding the process, writing a rebuttal and meeting with their administrators
  • MEA provides an avenue for new and experienced teachers who may want mentoring or intervention
  • MEA/Management committee works together to ensure a safe working environment for all teachers and paraprofessionals and a safe learning environment for students
  • MEA/District Paperwork Reduction Committee approves and eliminates district forms and handles school-based forms that are appealed

What's at Stake: At a Glance

What are the contract issues at impasse (in dispute) for the 2011-2012 school year?  Click on the link above to better understand the issues as well as the positions of the district and MEA on each issue.



Special Magistrate's Recommendations

MEA and the District presented the issues at impasse at a hearing before Special Magistrate Robert Hoffman held on Wednesday, December 7, 2011.  To view the Special Magistrate's recommendations as well as documents relevant to the hearing, please click on the link above.

FOCUS Survey December 2011 Results

MEA conducted a survey regarding members' experiences entering grades and posting second quarter progress reports using FOCUS.  To view the survey results, click on the link above.   

Keep Manatee County’s School Board from further weakening the local economy
and your pay!
The School District is proposing deeper than needed cuts in salary and benefits for its employees. They want to cut your pay to help increase budget reserves.  These cuts in pay are unwarranted, unnecessary and take money out of our local economy! 

Employees shop locally and live and raise families here. The continued reduction in pay and increases in benefit costs will force many employees to make tough decisions in how and where to spend their limited dollars. 
Keep the School Board from making harmful decisions!
Contact the Superintendent and School Board members
and tell them

MEA members have seen their buying power decreased in each year beginning in 2008-09 and continuing through the 2010-11 school year. The average teacher salary in Manatee County has fallen $1,700 in that time, equal to a reduction of more than three percent (3.33%) of salary. During the 2011 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed a law requiring public school employees participating in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) to contribute three percent (3%) of the individual’s salary to the retirement system beginning July 1, 2011. These dollars were previously available for employees to spend in the local economy. Now the Manatee County School District Superintendent and Board have proposed an additional reduction of two and three quarter percent (2.75%) in salary for teachers and three furlough days for paraprofessionals for the 2011-12 year. With these actions the average teacher will have $3,500 less to spend at local businesses this year. Paraprofessionals will have $1,500 less to spend. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
The Superintendent’s preliminary budget proposals demonstrate that this salary reduction is not the result of the state budget cuts. Three million dollars ($3,000,000) of cuts were approved by the Board to be used for other purposes within the budget. MEA contends that the three million dollars remains in the budget and can be used for employee salaries. These proposed salary cuts and the reduced spending in the local economy are not necessary. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
In addition, the Superintendent has proposed to increase employee health insurance premiums by an average of twenty-six percent (26%) with some increasing by more than 100%. This is eight percent more in increased premiums than recommended by the Health Insurance Committee. The Superintendent and his negotiators have ignored the recommendations of the Committee and are relying on old data from a flawed report based on parameters provided by the Superintendent.
This means that the spending power of teachers and paraprofessionals will be reduced by thousands of dollars and less will be spent in the local economy. The impact will be a reduction in approximately $10,000,000 to local businesses this year. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
What can I do?
       Contact the Superintendent and School Board members and tell them ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! 
Tell them to stop the unnecessary salary cuts and unwarranted increases in health insurance premiums.

MEA Update
2011-12 Negotiations
October 7, 2011

MEA’s negotiations team met with the Superintendent’s negotiations team on Wednesday October 5, 2011. Scott Martin, the Superintendent’s Chief Negotiator was not prepared to respond to the questions and proposals provided by MEA in the prior negotiations, but proposed a new HMO Health Plan never discussed by the Health Insurance Committee. MEA asked a number of questions about the plan, and Mr. Martin said they would get back with MEA about some of the unanswered questions. The next day, Thursday, October 6th, Mr. Martin sent MEA a letter declaring impasse in negotiations. This letter stated, “While good work has been done, it appears that we are unable to resolve our issues through bargaining.” 
MEA has bargained in good faith with the goal of reaching an agreement. The Superintendent and Board seem more intent on imposing their desires on employees than listening to them. The Health Insurance Committee recommendation was dismissed by the Superintendent’s negotiators. The Teacher Evaluation Committee met on Thursday toward making a recommendation to bargaining. MEA proposed changes to the collective bargaining agreement that the Superintendent’s negotiators have not responded to, other than to say “we will get back on that issue.” Only two written proposals have been submitted by the Superintendent to MEA in negotiations – an incomplete modification to the Life Insurance provision and the new HMO plan presented the night before declaring impasse
It is clear the Superintendent and the Board are more interested in imposing unnecessary cuts and unneeded increases in health insurance premiums than listening to the concerns of teachers and paraprofessionals. 
Bargaining documents are available on our website:
School Board proposals
MEA proposals
MEA handouts and bargaining notes

MEA Update
2011-12 Negotiations
September 29, 2011

What is the current status of negotiations between MEA and the District?
Negotiations between MEA and the District are becoming more strained with each bargaining session. The District seems to be less interested in reaching an agreement and more interested in unnecessarily taking more money away from employees. Although the state has cut the budget, the Superintendent’s negotiators are pushing for deeper cuts in salary and benefits than are required to balance the budget and stabilize the health plan. MEA believes that the salary and benefit reductions proposed by the District are not necessary, are unwarranted and will negatively impact the Manatee County economy by $9,600,000. Although some noteworthy language issues have been tentatively agreed to, the District has not budged on their salary and benefit proposals: cut teacher pay by 2.75%, furlough paraprofessionals three days, increase health insurance premiums more than the recommendation of the Health Insurance Committee (based on the faulty Mercer report issued over a year ago), cut life insurance benefits in half, and require virtual teachers to purchase the equipment, hardware and internet access needed to perform the basic job functions - without compensation. The next bargaining session is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday October 5, 2011. 
MEA negotiators have reviewed the District budget documents and questioned the District regarding nearly 30 concerns within the document. The District’s response to these questions can be reviewed here.  In addition, MEA negotiators participated in the Health Insurance Committee along with the representatives appointed by AFSCME and those appointed by the Superintendent. The joint committee has studied the health plan data in depth. Even though the committee recommendation will further increase premiums for the Board and employees for the next plan year beginning January 1, 2012, MEA currently believes the appropriate course to take to ensure the viability of the Health Plan is to accept the recommendation of the committee.    MEA believes that the Health Insurance Committee is the appropriate body to make recommendations related to negotiations on health benefits and premiums, not an outside consultant hired by the Superintendent. The Health plan does not need additional funding for the 2011 or 2012 years over and above the current premiums for 2011 and the recommended premiums for 2012. These are tough economic times but enough is enough! For more questions on the budget or Health Insurance Committee please contact Bruce Proud, MEA Business Representative at
Regardless of the School Board decisions related to proposed budget cuts or the Superintendent’s bargaining proposals for salary cuts beyond what is needed to balance the budget and unnecessary  Health Plan premium increases, no changes in wages, benefits, terms and conditions of employment may be legally implemented until the negotiations process is completed.
What actions can I take?
The negative impacts of the Board proposals will reduce employee spending power this year by nearly $3,500 for teachers and more than $1,500 for paraprofessionals. MEA wants to know more about how these cuts will squeeze local businesses, which local businesses will see fewer of your dollars and how will the cuts impact your personal spending on your classroom in the next year if these cuts are implemented. Please click on the link below and complete the MEA Survey on the Local Economic Impact of these further unnecessary cuts:
In addition, every MEA bargaining unit member can support the MEA negotiations team by contacting the Superintendent and School Board members and letting them know that cutting employee salary deeper than needed and increasing insurance premiums higher than necessary is wrong