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Duval School Board Approves Performance Pay, Raises For Teachers

Saphara Harrell

Jacksonville teachers will now be paid based on student performance after an agreement between the Duval County School Board and the Duval Teachers United union. It's an effort to comply with a new state law.

The agreement requires all teachers hired after 2009 to be paid based on performance, while teachers hired before then will have the option to continue getting paid based on seniority.

Duval Teachers United President Terrie Brady says teachers are relieved to have an agreement after four years of negotiation.

"With this ratification we are changing the culture and the way that we do our work. Please note that the teachers in this district are still frustrated. They're tired, and they're tired of their students being over-tested. But the elements of this new contract should give them some relief — if not this year, next year," said Brady.

The performance-pay model requires teachers to receive "highly effective" or "effective" on their evaluations. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says a vast majority of Jacksonville's teachers have received that distinction.

The new agreement also increased the pay for first-year teachers by $1,700. Their salary will now start at $39,000.