Save the Date! School Board Candidate Screening Interviews will be held on Monday, May 16 at 5 p.m.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to meet school board candidates and hear their opinions on important issues impacting our schools.  All members are welcome to attend, but you must hear all candidates in a particular race to cast an endorsement ballot.  We will begin at 5 p.m. and refreshments will be provided.  While RSVPs are not required, they will help us to make sure we have enough food!  Please RSVP to Xiomara at 238-7902.

HCTA May Representative Council and General Assembly—May 12, 2016 at 6 p.m.

May 12 will be our last Rep Council for the 2015-16 school year.  This meeting will be a general assembly to discuss proposed constitution and by-law changes, which were presented and discussed at the April Council meeting.  The proposed changes can be viewed in the following document:


Contract Ratification Results

Sent on behalf of Norma Goff, HCTA Election Committee Chair

Dear Teacher and ESP Bargaining Unit Members:

The HCTA Election Committee announces the ratification of the following tentative agreements:
• The 2015-16 Salary & Benefit Agreements for Teachers and ESPs
• The 2015-2018 ESP Contract
• Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Updated Salary Scales for ESP and Psychologists

The counts were as follows:

ESP Ballots
A total of 2,575 ballots were returned out of 4119 that were sent out (62.5%)
YES votes: 2,466 (95.77%)
NO votes:  60 (2.33%)
Disqualified / Challenged ballots: 49 (1.9%)

Teacher Ballots
A total of 6,695 ballots were returned out of 15,899 that were sent out (42.1%).
YES votes: 6,294 (94.01%)
NO votes: 286 (4.27%)
Disqualified / Challenged ballots: 115 (1.7%)

Ballots are “challenged” or “disqualified” where there is no clear indication of the way in which someone wants to vote, where more than one ballot is in an envelope or where ballots were returned without the return envelope.

The School Board is expected to vote at their meeting on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. Assuming ratification by the School Board, SDHC has confirmed that pay increases will be reflected in the 2/5/16 check and retroactive pay will be paid in the 2/19/16 check.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote! Many thanks to the Election Committee for all of their hard work!

FYI—Teacher Salary Scales

Please note that the ratification documents do not contain new teacher salary scales because the actual scales have not changed.  The agreement calls for movement on the already ratified scales (old or new).  For your reference, the salary scales can be found at:

Salary Schedules

Contract Ratification—Information and Documents

The Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association (HCTA) reached tentative agreements with the School District of Hillsborough County on the following items:


Active employees of the Hillsborough County School District, in the Teacher Bargaining Unit and the ESP Bargaining Unit (Para and Clerical), are eligible and encouraged to vote on the ratification of these agreements. By law, both members and non-members are eligible to vote.

The HCTA Election Committee will meet between January 16 and January 18, 2016 to tally the ballots. To be counted, your ballot must be returned to the HCTA office in the return envelope provided by 5 p.m. on Friday January 15, 2016.  You may return your ballot through school mail or you may drop it off at the HCTA office, where we will maintain a secure ballot box. If the contract is ratified, the Hillsborough County School Board will then vote on the agreements. The Board is tentatively scheduled to take action on January 19, 2016.

If you lose or damage your ballot, you may come to the HCTA office to request a new ballot. Anyone requesting a replacement ballot will be required to show a valid photo ID and provide their Lawson number. All established deadlines will still apply. 

PLEASE NOTE: if you have recently changed your worksite, our data may reflect your prior placement depending on when the district completed the transfer in their system. If you have a recent move, you may want to contact relevant staff at your prior site and have them forward your ballot or arrange for pick-up. You may also come to the HCTA office to vote (as described above).

If you have any questions regarding the ratification process, please contact the HCTA office at 813-238-7902 or by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

HCTA union members who have questions regarding the content of the attachments may call their HCTA Staff Rep at 813-238-7902. Employees who are not HCTA union members should contact the HR Department for clarification of any questions they may have.

Contract Ratification Information

All individuals in the Teacher and ESP bargaining units will receive a paper ballot for contract ratification between in the next few days.  Please note that both members and non-members may vote for contract ratification. These ballots will generally be delivered via school mail in a large white envelope with the Hillsborough CTA logo.  Some groups, such as bus riders, as well as individuals who have asked that we use a home address, will receive their ballot via U.S. Mail.  Due to volume of pieces (approximately 20,000), delivery will likely take a few days, so please do not worry if you haven’t received your ballot yet. 

We are waiting for final documents from the district and all documents to be ratified will be posted by tonight, January 5, 2016.  Additionally, all individuals will receive an e-mail to their school mail address this evening with full voting instructions and other information.

Useful Information: Percentile Rankings for ACT and SAT

In case you are wondering if your SAT or ACT scores fall in the 80th percentile or above (because you want to apply for Best and Brightest Money or are just curious), the attached document provides the relevant scores going back over 40 years for both tests!

HCTA Summer Update

Bargaining and Budget Update

As you know, this year we bargain economic issues for both the Teacher and ESP units.  Additionally, we are bargaining the “full book” for our ESPs and we will inevitably deal with a variety of other issues, such as evaluation, for the Teacher Unit.  The HCTA and SDHC bargaining teams have met three times.  Bargaining got off to a late start this year because our Legislature did not pass a budget until a special session in June.  Additionally, a variety of changes in district leadership combined with updates to SDHC strategic priorities have slowed our progress.
At this time, we can report the following:

1. Health Care:  We will retain a no premium plan (Coverage First Local).  However, other plans will experience a small increase in premiums.  In this regard, if you participate in the HMO, we encourage you to contact employee benefits to discuss whether Coverage First could meet your needs at a lower cost.  Remember that the open period will begin in September (date TBD).  To offset costs, some plan changes were made to increase out of pocket maximums and co-pays for certain high expense drugs.  The District is absorbing a 10 million dollar cost increase as a result of several consecutive high claim years. 
With regard to health care, please note that based on a motion by the HCTA Rep Council this Spring, I shared the concerns of the membership with the School Board at their July meeting.  Per the motion, I stated our desires that:  1) the plans be competitively bid out in the coming year and 2) that as part of the bidding process, we look for ways to make dependent coverage more affordable. 
On a positive note, beginning in 2016, the opt-out credit for those who have other insurance will increase to $900.00.  Additionally, while the proposed merger of Humana and Aetna presents a variety of unknowns, Aetna actually has staff that specialize in working with unions, which could be a positive development.

2. While a small increase in per pupil expenditures was approved in Tallahassee, our District is struggling with a budget deficit.  For instance, our district, like many, is struggling with the amount of money flowing to charter schools.  This money flows through the district, but if children are in a charter school, per pupil dollars go to the charter.  Many of you may have heard from your principals that Superintendent Eakins spoke at their recent meeting about the need to significantly reduce the budget.  I have requested a variety of information from the district regarding expenses and I am in the process of analyzing the data.  Based on discussions with the Superintendent, we will look for ways to save money that do not impact the classroom or result in lay-offs. 

Our economic proposals, which include raises for all teachers, as well as continuing our efforts to refine and improve the ESP scale, will ultimately, depend on budget decisions at the district level.  We will keep you posted as we learn more. 

3. We are working with the district to refine a number of evaluation rubrics and procedures based on your survey feedback.  We will post additional information on these topics as they are agreed upon. 

Save Your Receipts!
The beginning of school is around the corner and we know all of you will be out buying classroom supplies!  Please save your receipts for all purchases related to your classroom and students!  Saving your documentation is important for two reasons:

1. Florida Teacher Supply Funds:  In the past, funds under this program (generally about $250) were distributed to teachers without any documentation as to receipted expenses.  Our district was recently informed that an IRS audit in another school district produced guidance requiring school sites to have documentation that funds were spent for education purposes.  SDHC is currently working with various vendors to create a program where teachers can order supplies online and have all receipts retained electronically.  However, they will also have a procedure to submit your receipts to the school site for retention in the event you’ve already purchased items or wish to purchase things at various places. 
2. 2015 Taxes: Save additional receipts for relevant personal deductions.

Student Handbook and Discipline Changes
I’m sure many of you have been following the discussion on discipline that has been happening at the district level for quite some time.  Without getting into the considerable history on this topic, various community groups have raised concerns about the suspensions rates as a whole, and more specifically the high rates of suspension for African American and Hispanic male students.  Various suggestions have been submitted to the School Board.  In short, the Board approved changes to the Student Handbook as follows:

1. The Board limited zero tolerance offenses.  Hillsborough had a far larger list than required by state law, so consistent with statute, the Board limited zero tolerance offenses to those involving firearms and threats to schools or school personnel.
2. Tardy policies were brought in line with state law.
3. The term “inappropriate conduct” was removed because it is vague and is an easy default that doesn’t adequately describe the improper conduct.  Otherwise, the full range of options are still available for disciplinary purposes, but school staff will have to choose the more descriptive term (ie: profanity, disruptive, skipping class, etc.).
4. 10 day suspensions will have to be reviewed and approved by an Area Superintendent.
The items above are not the only changes to the handbook, but are the relevant ones on the topic of discipline.
I spoke on this topic at the July meeting.  I shared our support for educational equity and keeping kids in school.  But I noted that behavior doesn’t change just because we want it to and “school culture,” on which the Board and Superintendent are focused, will not change overnight.  While the changes may be a positive step to keeping children in school, I voiced my concern that I had not seen a concrete plan for alternate interventions, including increased funding for services such as social work, psychology or guidance.  I also noted that as a district, we needed to make ISS and ATOSS more productive and accessible. 
It is important to note that the Superintendent and most Board members continually stressed that there is no intent to impact the learning environment for teachers or students.  They are not indicating that disruptive students will not be subject to discipline. 
The issue of make-up work will likely be raised by the district in our next bargaining session.  This topic will no doubt evolve, and I expect we will survey members about what is happening at their sites after school begins. 

Enjoy the last couple weeks of break and we will have additional updates during pre-planning! 

In Unity,

Proclamation - National Education Support Professionals Day

WHEREAS, public schools are the backbone of our democracy, providing young people with the tools they need to maintain our nation’s precious values of freedom, civility and equality; and
WHEREAS, Education Support Professionals are an integral part of the education process; and
WHEREAS, Education Support Professionals provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students; and
WHEREAS, Education Support Professionals work tirelessly to serve our children and communities with care and professionalism.
NOW, THEREFORE,WE, the School Board and Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools; the Hillsborough School Employees Federation; and the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, do hereby proclaim Wednesday November 19, 2014 as National Education Support Professional Day.

2014-2015 Salary Increases

The 2014-2015 Salary & Benefit Agreements for Teachers and ESPs, and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were ratified by the employees in the Hillsborough CTA bargaining units on Thursday, October 22, 2014 and by the Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

Pay increases will be reflected in the 11/14/14 check and retroactive pay will be paid in the 11/28/14 check.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote! Many thanks to the HCTA Election Committee for all of their hard work!

Dues Increase

August 1, 2014

HCTA’s local union dues will not increase this year and there is no increase to pass through from AFT or AFL-CIO. However, FEA and NEA have increased their dues, so there will be an overall increase of $10.40 for the year. For 2014-15, teacher dues will be $32.84 per pay period (20 pay periods) and ESP dues will be $16.45 (20 pay periods).

ESE Certification Requirements

During the 2013 Legislative Session, Senate Bill 1108 was passed and signed into law. Section 9 of the bill added an ESE instruction component of 20 inservice hours or 1 college credit to the professional certification requirements. Read more about the bill and how it may impact you here: