Lee County $2.5M teacher planning contract approved

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Lee County teachers can will get paid for daily planning periods now that the school district has approved a multimillion contract.

The district’s approval means that teachers will have time to plan their lessons every day as opposed to every other day. Lee County teachers haven’t had daily planning periods since 2008.

The contract plan will cost an extra $2.5 million. The district also needs to hire more teachers to take over classes while others are planning.

Teachers, like Jennifer Tomlinson, say the change could help relieve some of the stress that comes with educating students.

“It’s really not about the teachers. It’s about the success of the students that we teach every day,” Tomlinson said. “We just really need to have that daily planning every day in order to plan for them thoughtful lessons and give them thoughtful feedback.”

The planning period will allow teachers to grade papers, make lesson plans and tackle other tasks that cannot be completed while they are working with students.

New teacher contracts were approved about three weeks ago on March 4. But those contracts promised an additional 30 minutes a week for planning. Teachers complained that six minutes a day was inadequate.

Superintendent Greg Atkins agreed that teachers needed more time despite the costs to the district.

“We want to have teachers be happy in their work and if their working conditions are not quality working conditions, then they’re not going to be happy and they’re going to leave the profession,” Atkins said.

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