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PG school board approves new teacher contract

Teachers to receive raises for first time in three years

By Sara Toth, stoth@tribune.com

11:05 AM EDT, October 31, 2012

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The Prince George's County Board of Education unanimously approved a new contract for teachers represented by the Prince George's County Educator's Association.

The vote, taken Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the board's meeting, means that for the first time in three years, county teachers will receive a raise.

The new contract takes effect immediately.

Representatives of the union have been negotiating with the board for the past three years. Under the new contract, teachers will receive a step increase in their salary, and those at the top of the pay scale will receive a one-time 2 percent increase.

"We have excellent teachers who have stayed the course despite not receiving a pay increase in three years," PGCEA Executive Director Lewis Robinson said in a news release. "This contract demonstrates in several ways the Board of Education's commitment to recognize its work force in spite of the difficult fiscal challenges that we faced in this negotiation."

The contract also allows teachers to work from home on three grading or planning days, and establishes a Turnaround Leadership Council to address teacher recruitment, placement and development.

Interim Superintendent Alvin Crawley said the contract keeps the school system focused on ensuring highly effective teaching.

"We appreciate the collaboration of our teachers' union and we look forward to not only continuing to make academic progress, but regaining our competitive edge in retention and recruitment of highly effective teachers," he said.

County leaders applauded the new contract.

"This contract is an important step toward showing our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of educators across Prince George's County," said County Executive Rushern Baker. "I want to commend PGCEA and the Board of Education for working together for the success of our students and families."

School board Chairwoman Verjeana Jacobs called the contract's approval a victory for students, teachers and the schools.

"It demonstrates that we are moving in the right direction," Jacobs said. "Despite having to cope with significant budget cuts, our teachers remain dedicated to our students. They should be rewarded for their unwavering commitment to education."

Laurel High School hosts college fair

Laurel High School is hosting a college fair Nov. 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the school.

More than 33 colleges will be present at the fair, which is open to all students. Business casual attire is recommended for those attending.

For more information, contact laurelhighschoolptsa@gmail.com.

Laurel Elementary School Science Bowl team advances to semifinals

The Laurel Elementary School Science Bowl team advanced to the semifinals of the Prince George's County Science Bowl, when the team won Oct. 9.

The team is made up of fifth-graders Ulices Benitez, Evelyn Stills, Jada Williams, team captain Devyn Willis and fourth-grader Ansharah Akbar. The group's adviser is second-grade teacher Clarissa Blake.

The students were unable to meet or practice during the first three weeks of school, while they were being bussed to the old Greenbelt Middle as much-delayed construction at Laurel was ongoing.

The Science Bowl is in its 25th year at county schools. The weekly televised program is for elementary and middle school students to test their science knowledge against students from other schools.

The next match for the Laurel Elementary team is in January.