The Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County overwhelmingly ratified a new contract proposal that would give teachers a 5 percent across-the-board raise.
Approved by TAAAC members Wednesday night, the agreement would increase starting teacher salaries from $28,043 to $30,635 - which would include an additional signing bonus - according to a statement from association President Susie C. Jablinske.
The association represents about 4,100 teachers. The one-year contract would take effect July 1, pending approval by the county's board of education.
School administrators struggling to deal with a teacher shortage are hoping that the salary boost will make the county more attractive to beginning teachers. Officials have said that many candidates have overlooked Anne Arundel in the past few years because of its low starting salaries in comparison to other jurisdictions.
Last month, the County Council included a 4 percent raise for teachers in next year's county budget, triggering a 1 percent contribution from the state. The state-supported pay raise, approved by the General Assembly in April, was designed to increase salaries by 10 percent over two years.
County education officials have said that they need to hire 700 teachers for next school year.
Jablinske said that TAAAC and county school administrators took a new non-adversarial approach to contract negotiations this year. Called interest-based bargaining, the process focuses on issues rather than proposals and counterproposals. Teacher recruitment and retention, teacher workload and planning time, health care benefits and a substitute teacher shortage were among the key issues addressed during the negotiations, Jablinske said.
The proposed contract includes upgraded vision and dental plans and improved benefits for medical prescriptions.