BESPA/Bay District Schools contract negotiation under way

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Panama City-- The Bay Educators Support Personnel Association and Bay District School officials have begun routine contract negotiations. And they're talking money once again.

B.E.S.P.A represents the non-teaching staff in Bay District Schools like paraprofessionals, bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

They meet annually to discuss insurance and salary increases and every three years to negotiate the entire contract.

"The biggest issue is a 16 percent increase on health insurance and the fingerprinting costs because when you make a little more than minimum wage, 81 dollars for your background check and fingerprinting is a lot of money," said BESPA President, Pat Martina.

"We have salary increases from Blue Cross Blue Shield so we're having to talk about who's going to pick that up, the employer, the school board or some split between that. They've given us a proposal for a slight salary increase for some of their employees," said negotiator for the school district, Pat Martin.

The negotiation process can take anywhere from a day to six months.

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