MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade teachers who received “Race to the Top” merit pay bonuses will be allowed to keep the money following a contract re-ratification vote on Tuesday.
The revote was required by the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, which found the United Teachers of Dade had violated voting procedures with an electronic vote last year. Tuesday’s vote was by paper ballot.
The three measures teachers voted on concerned “Race to the Top” bonus plans, health insurance, and teacher evaluations.
The “Race To The Top” program allows teacher performance pay to be financed with federal grant money.
Last year, Miami-Dade schools chief Alberto Carvalho handed out $14 million to top performing teachers, whose students made high gains on state standardized tests.
For the merit pay, the votes were 12,931 in favor and 6,177 against, according to the union’s website.
The vote means that teachers and principals who received some of the $14 million in merit pay money will keep their bonuses.
The UTD will return to bargaining on May 30th for the 2012-2015 contract.
UTD negotiators plan to propose a new salary schedule for teachers including a previously negotiated beginning teacher’s salary of $40,000.
UTD President Karen Aronowitz also plans to address her innovative new funding proposal that raises cash for education through a tax amnesty program. The program would encourage residents illegally claiming a homestead exemption to come clean. The money from uncollected taxes would go toward education.
The teachers union said the revenue is needed to provide teachers with competitive salaries without raising taxes. The amnesty would include an advertising campaign linking tax evasion with the effect on school children, and would be followed up with higher penalties.
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