Manatee School Board approves teacher pay increase, $15 minimum wage

Sarasota Herald-Tribune | By Steven Walker | September 13, 2022

The Manatee County School Board unanimously approved a contract Tuesday between the district and the Manatee Education Association that raises starting pay for teachers by about $2,000 from $52,910 to $55,177.

The new base pay consists of $48,586, plus a supplement of $6,591 from the local-option property tax approved by voters in 2021. Also part of the new contract was an approved $15-per-hour minimum wage. The pay increases are all retroactive to July 1, 2022, according to the district’s release sent Tuesday.

Manatee School Board Chairman James Golden said the $15 minimum wage increase was long overdue, and that the overall pay increase is a win-win for the district and the community.

“This certainly makes us more than competitive in attracting and retaining

quality professional educators in the classrooms,” he said.

School District Superintendent Cynthia Saunders expressed hope that the increase could help alleviate the teacher shortage. When school started last month, Manatee County had 84 teaching vacancies, according to a district spokesperson. 

“During this time when all school districts are struggling to recruit and retain the highly qualified teachers and paraprofessionals our students need and deserve, this is a significant step forward for our school district,” Saunders said. “I want to thank the bargaining teams for the district and the MEA, the School Board for its approval of the new contract, and our community for its continued support of our students and schools.”

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