Teachers contract ratified by school board, securing pay increases

The Carroll County Board of Education ratified the CCEA teachers union contract during its meeting Wednesday night.

New Carroll County teacher contracts were ratified this week, bringing with them raises based on experience, better working conditions and increase in pay for after-hours work.

The Carroll County Board of Education ratified the Carroll County Education Association teachers union contract during its meeting Wednesday night. The vote, which was unanimous, was held after months of back and forth between the two organizations.


Carroll County Public Schools and the CCEA reached a tentative agreement June 6. The contract was ratified first by the union Tuesday night after a three-hour meeting at Westminster High School.

Wednesday's school board meeting was the final step in pushing through the new teacher contract.

"I can't say enough about the people who served to get this done for us," schools Superintendent Steve Guthrie said Wednesday. "I think it's great for the county; I think it's great for the school system."

Wednesday's unanimous vote matched the overwhelmingly positive response to the agreement seen the night before. On Tuesday, the numbers came back with nearly 90 percent of the union voting in favor of the new contract — 283 for to 35 against. The new agreement, effective July 1, is valid for three years.

Major changes include a restructured salary schedule, which "better differentiates pay based on experience," according to a joint news release from CCPS and CCEA. Educator extra-duty payments will increase by 4 percent, and the hourly rate for teacher pay beyond the work day has been increased.

School spokeswoman Carey Gaddis said teachers would see anywhere from a 2 to 8 percent increase, with an average of a 5 percent raise. The percentage is based on where a teacher is on the scale and how long they've been there, she added.

Changes will also affect working conditions.

Employees will receive a holiday from medical and dental insurance premiums for eight pay periods in 2016, according to the release. Elementary special education teachers and special educators will receive an increase in planning time.

Tuition reimbursement and bereavement leave will be improved, staffing procedures have been clarified for returns from leave and in the event of future school closings, and there will be a pilot year for educators to telework on early dismissal days, according to the release.

The contract also includes a fair share fee for future employees represented by CCEA.

The contract was ratified after the May 26 approval of the county's fiscal year 2017 budget, which includes about $184.9 million for schools, $8.7 million more than what was allocated to CCPS in fiscal year 2016 for operating costs.

Much of the increase, the school board has said previously, will be used to fund increases for county schools staff.

Until this final ratification, CCEA was the only remaining bargaining unit of the five that the school system works with that hadn't reached an agreement with CCPS.

The other four — Administrators and Supervisors; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; Carroll Association of School Employees; and Food Services of Carroll County — had previously reached agreements on new contracts that include salary increases for members.


Wednesday's decision was met with applause.

"Even though we may have hit some bumps and sharp curves in the road, we all have the same goal and purpose. And that's to provide the best education to our students," CCEA President Teresa McCulloh said.