BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Negotiators for the Bay Educational Support Personnel Association (BESPA) and Bay District Schools met for the second time on Monday.
Salary rates are the major difference between the two sides.
“BESPA brought several proposals to us tonight, things that we need to check on and talk to other people about before we agree on,” BDS Director of Communications Sharon Michalik said. “We’ve got a couple of weeks to go and do some research.”
Earlier this year, Governor Ron DeSantis reportedly ordered school districts to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour by October.
“About 78 percent of our support employees make less than $15 an hour,” Michalik said. “The superintendent knows that this is very important to a lot of people.”
The district is also proposing support personnel would receive incremental raises between one and five percent, based on their current pay rate and their most recent performance evaluation.
“Everyone will get a raise, but some people under our proposal would get more of a raise,” Michalik said. “But that’s mandated by the governor.”
Union negotiators said under this proposal, some of the more experienced workers are being short-changed.
“All of a sudden, you just got the one that’s been there longer making the same amount of pay as the one that just walked in the door that has no experience at all,” BESPA President Carol Croon said. “The amount of money that we’re receiving now is not feasible for us to live on.”
Even so, school district officials said this is the largest raise BESPA employees have recently received.
“It’s very complicated, and we’ve looked at multiple different scenarios, and I’m sure the union is looking at multiple different scenarios, as well,” Michalik said. “This is the one that we believe gives the highest raise to the biggest group of people.”
These raises impact lunchroom workers, bus drivers, maintenance workers, paraprofessionals and clerical staff.
Both sides will reconvene on June 6 for counter-offers.