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Broward County Schools, Teachers Union Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

Broward Teachers Union president Anna Fusco holding a megaphone, addressing a crowd prior to the pandemic.
Jessica Bakeman
/
WLRN
Broward Teachers Union (BTU) president Anna Fusco addressing a crowd prior to the pandemic.

As part of the agreement, all teachers, classroom aides and technical support employees would receive a one-time bonus of $1,500.

The Broward County Public School District and the Broward Teachers Union announced Thursday that they have reached a tentative contract agreement, after negotiations for the 2020-2021 school year.

The two entities, true to their purposes and positions, are often at odds with each other.

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Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie referenced the pandemic's impact on the deal.

"Everyone in this district has continued to work and contribute to making sure that we have some sense of continuity and learning for our students in Broward County," he said.

Under the agreement — all teachers, classroom aides and technical support employees would receive a one-time bonus of $1,500.

Veteran teachers who meet certain criteria, or are considered grandfathered, will also get an extra raise with money leftover from the state's Teacher Allocation Fund from last year. This will bump them up 0.96% on top of last year's raise to now equal a 2.26% recurring increase in their base salary.

The agreements for each of the BTU bargaining units:

Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union, spoke about the challenges getting to this point.

"Everybody knows — and wants — a particular type of increase," she said. "And we had to come to the understanding with the student loss and the money allocated from the state … we hope to make sure that this gets passed and that everybody is shown some type of value through this trying time."

The agreement needs ratification from union members and school board approval to go into effect.

At Thursday's press conference, Superintendent Runcie also addressed questions about what the next school year could look like. He announced a return to 100% in-person learning in 2021-2022 at a Tuesday workshop.

Runcie said despite the state Department of Education arguing that masks should be voluntary in schools next year, he's watching local data benchmarks, like the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests before proceeding.

"I think the county is going to continue at this moment to require the measures that they've had in place, including wearing masks. We'll see how things change over time," he said.

However, with vaccines and more data about the virus in schools, Runcie said he's optimistic about the big picture.

"The trend lines and the developments that we see are positive and will get us, I think, to a place we want to be which is to have our schools open, 100 percent," he said.