City teachers would be able to earn significantly more under new contract

An innovative new contract would enable Baltimore teachers who are effective and ambitious to move quickly through the ranks and earn up to $100,000 a year, as well as give teachers more input on working conditions in their schools.

The new contract, being hailed as the most progressive in the nation, would in part link teachers' pay to their students' performance. The structure does away with the old model of "step" increases, or paying teachers based solely on their years of experience and the degrees they have obtained.

The agreement also dictates that by its third year, all schools will employ "school-based options" — a plan under which 80 percent of teachers in a school could help set working conditions not outlined in the general contract, such as a longer work day or more planning time.

The contract negotiations went smoothly, and union and school officials avoided the acrimony that surfaced during recent talks in the Washington school system.

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