Duval Teachers United

DTU: 2021-2022 State of the Union: Year End Review

Duval Teachers United has been servicing its members for 40+ years. DTU Units include Teachers, Paraprofessionals and United Office Personnel of Duval (UOPD). DTU continues to grow. In the past three years, we have added new groups of DCSB personnel who petitioned PERC (Public Employees Relations Commission) to be represented by DTU. The newest Teacher Unit groups are Physical and Occupational Therapists. The UOPD Unit has added Job Coaches and just recently Truancy Officers to their ranks.

The goal of DTU is to advocate for its membership at the highest professional levels. DTU represents and advocates for its members through the Collective Bargaining process, legal services, district and state level disciplinary meetings, growth plan meetings, at worksite meetings, filing grievances to advocate for contract violations with school administration and at the district level, and by representing our membership through community activism at Duval County School Board meetings and keeping abreast of State Legislative action.

The purpose of this communication is to keep you informed on what DTU does for you during a typical year. DTU advocates for over 200 worksites. That includes all schools, regional offices, and the DCSB Building. The following is a synopsis of how DTU advocates for its membership.

2021-2022 Phone Calls

Phone Activity from August 20, 2021 – May 5, 2022: 4,090 Phone Calls

As a benefit of belonging, members have the right to call the DTU office to ask questions or ask for assistance. DTU staff is available to respond to member calls, emails, answer questions and research member issues.

Daily phone calls range in topics such as, but not limited to the following:

Administrative Harassment, Investigations, Payroll Issues, Observations/ Evaluations, Worker’s Comp/Accommodations, Discipline Issues, Referral Processing, Insurance Issues, DTU Rep Elections, High School Coaching Issues, Parent Issues, IEP Concerns, Planning Day Questions, Late Bus Issues, Contractual Work Hours, PLC Questions, Summer Pay, OJI Questions, Sub Pay Issues, Tardiness, ESE Support, Student Threats, Growth Plan Support, Paraprofessional Cafeteria Duty, Mental Health Training, Speech Services, Student Fights, TEAMS Instruction, Technology Issues, Progressive Discipline, Peer Mediation, Appointments for Legal Services, Parent Complaints, Bargaining, Classroom Cleanliness, Supplies, Leave Questions, DTU Member Benefits, Lesson Plan Questions, Lack of Admin Support, DCF Questions, Due Process, Parent Conferences, LWOP Questions, Faculty Meetings, Transfer Questions, Professional Development Training, Bereavement Leave, Testing Improprieties, MRT Meetings, Teaching Out of Field, and Class Coverage

Legal Department

As a benefit of belonging, DTU has two full time attorneys on staff to assist members with legal issues. The Legal Department is divided into two major areas of concern in order to appropriately handle the different member needs. Those areas are Family/Personal Needs and Investigations/ DOE Certification Issues.

Investigatory/DOE Certification Issues: 1,770 Phone Calls and Client Contacts

Family/Personal Issues: 1,190 Phone Calls and Client Contact

Legal issues that have been addressed in this area are: Completion of Testamentary Documents (Wills, Trusts, Notarizations), Divorces, Family Legal Cases, Miscellaneous non-scheduled Legal Inquiries, Member Workshops, School Based Investigations, HOA Issues

Investigatory/DOE Certification Issues: 1,770 Phone Calls and Client Contacts

Legal issues that have been addressed in this area are: ADA Meetings, Certification Issues, Department of Administrative Hearing Cases, Investigations, Deeds, HOA Landlord/Tenant Issues, Discipline Meetings, DCF Issues, Law Enforcement Member Issues, Traffic Court Appearances, Trainings for Membership, Miscellaneous Legal Questions

*While some member issues/questions can be handled over the phone, the majority of legal issues require face to face conferences in addition to the initial call.

DTU Professional Development Offerings: 2021-2022

DTU offers and provides Professional Development as a member benefit. For the 2021-2022 school year the following number of workshops were provided for members.

2021-2022: DTU Courses/Workshops Provided to Members: 37

Workshops Offered:

Beginning Reading, CAST Workshops, ESOL: Curriculum and Materials / Methods of Teaching ESOL, Reading Competencies: (Competency 1, Competency 3, Competency 4), Thinking Math 3-5, Strategies for Student Success, Rethinking Punishment, Managing Anti-social Behavior, Instructional Strategies that Work for All Disciplines, Linking the Assessment Process to Teaching and Learning, AFT Student Loan Debt Clinic, Social Security and your Retirement, What do I do if a fight breaks out?, General Knowledge Math Tutoring

Support Saturday: DTU offers one-on-one help sessions monthly for teachers who need classroom assistance. At Support Saturday, teachers receive help on various topics such as: lesson planning, classroom management, observations, centers, data analysis, classroom organization, navigating FOCUS, understanding IEP’s, and many more. Teachers meet with mentors to help them and answer their questions. Please look for scheduled sessions in the fall for our sessions.

Help with National Board Certification: Have you ever considered working towards your National Board Certification? Looking for a way to increase your salary ($2,625 per year)? Searching for a way to improve your teaching practices and in turn improve your CAST score?  Wondering about the best way to reflect on your teaching and adjust it to better assist your students? Seeking National Board Certification may be the answer to all these questions.

DTU provides:

  • the FACTS about the PROCESS and support from National Board-Certified Teachers. 
  • information on costs involved: four components at $475 each plus the $75 registration fee.
  • monthly meetings for teachers choosing to complete the process. 

RENEWAL CANDIDATES must renew their certificate to continue to receive their supplement.

Please contact Jessica Reyst, NBCT, for information about the process.  DTU will hold informational and candidate support meetings starting in the fall. 

Collective Bargaining

Advocacy for members in collective bargaining is extremely important for our members. It determines working conditions, benefits, as well as salary increases that are based on Legislatively allotted and existing District funds. Leadership, DTU staff and DTU members are involved in the collective bargaining process. Issues for the bargaining table generally come from the membership through surveys, phone calls and grievances. DTU also identifies Legislative issues that will impact the bargaining process. There are approximately 20 pieces of legislation currently impacting salaries in the Teacher Unit.

Teacher Salary Advancements:

  • DTU currently negotiates 15 different salary schedules for Teacher Unit groups.
  • The Florida Legislature continues its drive to dedicate the bulk of its new funding for beginning teachers, pretty much neglecting the salaries of experienced teachers. Teacher Legislative salary funding continues to become more restrictive each year tying beginning salaries to any experienced teacher raises.  DTU has been successful in negotiations to date and will continue to look for funds to ensure that all salaries are raised proportionally.
  • In 2021-2022, DTU increased the beginning salary (now $47,500) on the Grandfather and Performance Pay Schedules to meet state requirements while still finding additional District funds to increase experienced teacher salaries. In 2022-2023, the beginning salary will need to be raised again as per Legislative mandate. Those making less than the beginning salary have been  raised to that level and will continue to be raised to meet beginning salary levels on the Grandfather and Performance Pay Schedules.
  • In 2021-2022, DTU restructured the Grandfather Salary Schedule to provide both beginning and experienced teachers fair salary increases.
  • Teachers received step movement on Grandfather and on Performance Pay received $1000 for an Effective rating and $2001 for a Highly Effective overall evaluation rating. In addition, the $1500 supplement provided in 2020-2021 was placed on the salary schedule as part of the teacher base salary for both the Grandfather and Performance Pay Schedules.
  • 2021-2022 Teachers will also see a $1000 bonus (at the end of June 2021-2022) using the Federal Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESSER). This bonus was also negotiated for 2022-2023 (as long as ESSER funding is still available.) for both Grandfather and Performance Pay teachers.

Paraprofessional and UOPD Salary Advancements:

  • DTU negotiates four different salary schedules for Paraprofessionals and two salary schedules for UOPD.
  • DTU negotiated increasing the beginning salary in 2021-2022 to reach $15.00 per hour three years in advance of the State deadline to do so.
  • After adjusting the salary schedule to accommodate the beginning salary increase, Paraprofessionals and UOPD received step. They will also receive step for 2022-2023.
  • Both Paraprofessional and UOPD Units received an additional $750 supplement for 2021-2022 and will receive $750 again in 2022-2023 spread across paychecks.

2021-2022 Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) Signed: 23 Signed

  • MOU’s usually cover issues that are in place temporarily or for short periods of time. Those Memorandums that become permanent move to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (contract) upon ratification.
  • 2021-2022 MOU’s addressed the following issues: Early Return and Professional Development; Extended Learning Schools; Professional Development; Technology Innovation Support; Project Rise Support; Pre-Planning Training for Paraprofessionals; Extended Learning Schools; Sub Coverage; COVID-19 (Isolation Rooms, Temperature Screening, Lunch Coverage; Vaccines, Leave for Testing and Vaccination Incentives, Supplements (Grow Coach, Hard to Staff, ESE Center Schools, School Based Webmaster), Psychologist Voluntary Assignments, Turnaround Schools, Tutoring Programs, Instructional Personnel Bonuses.

Health Insurance Benefits:

DTU sits on the District Health Insurance Committee. For 2021-2022, DTU voices were able to thwart continuing attempts to eliminate free health insurance for employees. DCPS is one of a few districts that currently has that benefit option.

DTU is among the fastest growing unions in Florida. As a result, DTU members were chosen as part of a focus group by our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to address teacher shortages.

Please don’t hesitate to visit our website to keep abreast of current issues. Also, continue to check your email and our newsletter for updates on current issues.

DTU will continue working to advocate for its membership. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the DTU Benefits of Belonging,