Frequently Asked Questions for Employees

  • If this is approved and I remain at one of the schools, who will I be working for?

    According to Newberry Education First, the City Commission of Newberry will be the ‘temporary board’ for the schools for 3-5 years and will hire a superintendent/CEO. The Commission would later decide who would oversee the schools permanently.

    Am I guaranteed a job with the charter school?

    According to the information provided by Newberry Education First, that would depend on your job title and description. That question would have to be answered by the new operators.

    What sort of job protections do we have with a charter school?

    Under Florida law, charter school employees on contract “may be suspended or dismissed any time during the term of the contract without cause.”

    Will we still be eligible to participate in the ACEA?

    Only employees of Alachua County Public Schools are eligible for membership in the Alachua County Education Association. Charter school employees are not eligible. Please contact ACEA for more information.

    Will we still be covered by the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)?

    No, the Collective Bargaining Agreement would not cover the employees at those schools, which means the salary schedule, working conditions, employment protections and other elements of the CBA would not apply to them.

    What happens to my accrued sick/annual leave?

    For ACPS employees, this is covered under the CBA. It will be up to the new operators to determine how much, if any of accrued sick/annual leave they will accept for charter school employees. They would also decide whether or not their employees would receive terminal pay for that leave if they retire from one of the schools. That means it’s possible that employees who go to work for the charter school will lose some or all accrued sick/annual leave.

    Can I get terminal pay for the leave I’ve already accrued with the district if I go to work for the charter?

    Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the district does not pay terminal leave for accrued sick/annual leave unless an employee retires (or dies) from Alachua County Public Schools. In other words, that employee would be losing their sick/annual leave.

    How much sick and vacation leave do I get from the charter school?

    That would be up to the school operators. Those items are also covered under the CBA for ACPS employees, not charter employees.

    Will my work hours, length of the work day or number of work days change?

    For Alachua County Public School employees, that’s determined through the CBA. For charter school employees, that would be up to the new operators.

    What impact would this have on my salary, supplements, stipend, and other parts of my pay? Would I still get additional pay for years of service and advanced degrees?

    What is currently offered under the CBA would not apply to charter school employees, so your salary, supplement and stipends (if any) would be decided by the charter operators.

    Would we still get the automatic step increase each year?

    No, that is required under the Collective Bargaining Agreement for ACPS employees. It would not apply to charter school employees.

    I’m hearing that teachers who go to work for the charter schools will get an immediate pay increase of 3%. Is that true?

    According to the Newberry Education First website, “Projected budgets will allow for an immediate pay increase of three percent” (italics added).  The website only applies this to teachers. A proposed salary schedule distributed by the group shows a potential increase for teachers in 2025-26, but between now and then ACPS employees would receive two more salary increases from the district. 

    This year, ACPS employees received a 3.5% increase AND an automatic step increase, which means most employees received a salary increase of 4.5 to 5%. That salary increase was negotiated with the ACEA, as are all salary increases. That would not be the case for the charter schools.

    Newberry Education First has not yet shared how much benefits would cost charter school employees. It also hasn’t shared information about whether supplements, stipends, extra pay for advanced degrees or other salary additions would be available.

    If I’m on a Professional Services Contract or continuing contract, would that still be in effect?

    No, that’s part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which would not apply to charter school employees.

    Will the district place teachers and staff who don't want to work at the charters in another school in the district?

    Yes, we will place any existing teachers and staff who don't want to work at the charters in other schools. In fact, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, they would have placement priority over any new hires. However, teachers and staff who separate from the district to work for a charter school and later decide they want to return to the district would have to reapply and go through the same hiring process as any other applicant. 

    Will my benefits stay the same?

    Benefits are also part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so your current benefits would no longer be in place at the charter school. Benefits would be determined by the schools’ operators.

    Could I still get the free health insurance offered by the district?

    No, this is only available to employees of Alachua County Public Schools.

    My spouse works for Alachua County Public Schools, so we get the Dual Spouse discount for our family health insurance plan. Would we still be eligible if one or both of us work for the charter school?

    No, that discount, which saves each family about $630 a month, only applies when both spouses are active employees of ACPS.

    What happens to my retirement benefits?

    Under Florida law, school districts must participate in the Florida Retirement System (FRS). Charter schools are NOT required to participate.

    Keep in mind, providing FRS benefits is very costly. The amount that employers must pay to cover employees under FRS goes up regularly. It’s increased nearly 28% in just the past two years. If they choose to keep employees on FRS, the charter operators would have to cover the costs, including all future increases.

    According to the Newberry Education First website, “teachers who are paying into the teacher retirement system will maintain those benefits and continue to receive them through the newly converted public charter school.” There are no further details, and it has no information about other employees’ retirement benefits. 

    Because I work at a Newberry school, will my child still be able to attend a Newberry school through a zoning exception, even though we don't live in the zone?

    This is a benefit offered through the CBA and through district policy, neither of which would apply to the charter school.  According to the current information posted on the Newberry Education First website, students currently enrolled would have the option of remaining in Newberry schools through high school.  but there is no information about the children of employees not yet enrolled.

    Will the district still provide substitute teachers, including long term subs?

    No, that would be the responsibility of the new operators. The district funds long-term subs directly. It also has a contract with a vendor to recruit, train and deploy short-term substitutes, but they do not serve charter schools.

    What happens to the magnets/career-tech programs in our school if it becomes a charter?

    The district does NOT offer magnet programs at charter schools because it does not have any authority over teachers, curriculum, students, etc. at charters.  This means that the Academy of Criminal Justice at Newberry High and the Center for Advanced Academics and Technology (CAAT) Program at Oak View Middle would no longer be located at those schools and would most likely be moved to different schools.  The new operators could choose to re-establish the programs in the Newberry schools, but they would not be part of the district's magnet application process or the annual Magnet Showcase.  They would also not be eligible for any additional funding, services, transportation or equipment (such as computers) provided by the district.

    What happens to the technology in our school if it becomes a charter?

    Most likely those items, including computers, projectors, etc., would remain at the school. But the charter operators would be responsible for maintaining and replacing them. They would also have to provide their own network.

    Which employees get to vote on whether or not our school converts to a charter?

    According to state law, the only employees who can participate in the vote are classroom teachers. Classroom teachers are defined as “staff members assigned to the professional activity of instructing students in courses in classroom situations, including basic instruction, exceptional student education, career education and adult education…” Voting teachers must also be employed at the school for more than half of each school day.” Educational support professionals, professional/technical, administrators and instructional staff who don’t meet that requirement are not included in the vote unless they have a child enrolled in one of the schools. In that case, they can vote as a parent.