xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Tentative contract agreement features 1.75% COLA increase for CCPS educators

A tentative contract agreement between the Carroll County Public School system and the Carroll County Education Association includes cost-of-living increases, a first-time six figure salary and payment for advanced placement, or AP, coordinators.

Carroll’s Board of Education is set to approve the tentative agreement during Wednesday’s meeting, the same day students return to the classroom for the first day of school.

Advertisement

Ryan Heilman, chief negotiator for CCEA, said one of the big wins in the 2022 master agreement is a 1.75% increase in cost-of-living wages instead of a one-time bonus.

CCEA, which represents more than 2,000 teachers, special educators, counselors, speech and language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists and nurses, rallied in June after announcing it was offered one-time bonuses from CCPS instead of salary increases.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The parties entered an impasse when an agreement could not be reached. However, mediation led to an agreement that was reached Aug. 9. Heilman said it was a fair contract overall.

“It wasn’t everything we wanted, but that’s what happens in impasse,” he said. “In reality, we didn’t remove anything. Nothing was taken away.”

Heilman added that some of the things CCEA proposed, which he said he cannot specify due to confidentiality reasons, were not accepted. Of the 40% of union members who voted on the proposed contract, 548 said “yes” and 14 said “no.”

One of the wins in the agreement, Heilman said, was that everyone who is eligible would receive a step, or salary increase this year. Employees have 20 steps. Those on step 20 are not considered eligible since there is no step 21.

Advertisement

An agreement made after impasse would provide a cost-of-living increase instead of a bonus. Heilman said that with the 1.75% increase, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree went from making $48,000 on step 1, or a starting salary, to $48,840.

He said some of the steps also were unfrozen. Steps 15 to 20 for interpreters, for example, had the same salary of $54,011. Now, the salary for step 15 is $54,956 and steps 16 to 20 is $56,363.

The hourly rate, which was $36.09, was raised to $36.72. And the six-figure mark was breached for the first time at $101,406, Heilman said. He said some special educators qualify for that salary.

“We’re certainly pleased with the settlement,” Jon O’Neal, chief of operations, said. “Whether or not teachers deserved the raise was never in question.”

What was in question, however, was whether the school system had the funds to do so. He said the system was able to take the money from the proposed one-time bonuses and use it to fund the cost-of-living adjustment for a two-year period.

He said the school system is happy to reach a settlement and called the discussions collaborative.

Other wins Heilman noted were adding this school year to the pilot program that will provide three personal business days a year, allowing employees to roll over two of the unused days, and maximizing the number of personal days at five.

CCEA educators would also have the power to hire a substitute to watch a class while the teacher administers a mandatory test taken by pre-K through second-graders in January and May. Initially, teachers were expected to give the test to a few students while teaching the rest.

The contract also includes an extra duty position for AP test coordinators paid for by CCPS. Initially, staff who ran the tests did “an extreme amount of work” but received only a small stipend from the College Board, according to Heilman.

Not included in the formal contract, Heilman said, was a memorandum of understanding that allowed employees to receive six credits for the professional development days they did last year related to the pandemic. Staff members submitted a written log of what they did at that time and the six credits can be used to renew their licenses.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement