FORT WALTON BEACH — Teachers in Okaloosa County schools will see more money after the first of the year if a recommended pay scale is approved.
Pending an OK from teachers and the School Board, most teachers will see at least a 3 percent increase for this school year.
The only exception will be those who have reached the top of the step pay scale. Under the pending agreement, they will see about a 2 percent increase, which is better than they had in previous years when they received nothing, said Mike Foxworthy, chief negotiator for the school district.
It’s also the first time in a year teacher pay in general has increased.
“While this is a very small improvement in the salary schedule, it’s the first time we’ve been able to improve it in the last five years,” Foxworthy said.
Last year, district officials said they couldn’t afford to pay the step increase. After a lengthy battle, the decision was upheld in two legal proceedings.
“We were determined that we needed to see some improvement in the salary schedule,” said Elaine Crump, chief negotiator for the Okaloosa County Education Association. “And it’s not just the salary schedule; we took care of some working conditions that make things better for people, too … so hopefully people will be happy.”
The proposed salary changes come months after the district and teachers union started wrangling over contracts and pay.
Negotiators went back and fourth during their meeting Thursday evening before they agreed to shift the previous pay schedule enough to meet the needs of both sides.
If the current proposal gets the needed approvals, teachers will see the salary hike on their January paychecks, Foxworthy said. They also will receive a retroactive check to reflect the pay increase from July forward.
The School Board will address the issue at its Dec. 10 meeting. Teachers will vote on it later.
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Katie Tammen at 850-315-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KatieTnwfdn.