New Three Year Contract Tentatively Approved for WCPS Teachers

New Three Year Contract Tentatively Approved for WCPS Teachers

Hagerstown, MD (May 15, 2008)- Tentative agreement has been reached between the Washington County Board of Education (BOE) and the Washington County Teachers Association (WCTA) on a new three- year contract for teachers. The package contains pay raises for each of the three years and improved starting salaries. The Board of Education and WCTA members will have to approve the agreement, which would go into effect on July 1, 2008. The current contract expires on June 30th.
Association chief negotiator Jeffrey Farr praised superintendent of schools Dr. Elizabeth M. Morgan and the BOE negotiating team. "They more than kept their commitment to listen, question, and discuss issues with a focus on finding consensus rather than defining position. Because of the quality of the dialogue, we have been able to craft acceptable responses to most BOE and WCTA issues."
Timothy Thornburg, chief negotiator for the BOE, agreed. "Both sides came to compromise and agreement in a professional way, creating a positive outcome for the school system, the teachers, and the community."
Contract highlights include:
* Salary increases of 2% plus step in 2008-2009; 2% plus step in 2009-2010; and 3% plus step in 2010-2011.
* A starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree will increase to $42,807 in 2008-2009 and to $43,662 in 2009-2010.
* All teachers will receive an additional 25 minutes of planning time per week, for a total of 250 minutes.
* Specialized assignments, which will now include occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech language pathologists, along with student achievement specialists, department leaders, and positions at Winter Street Elementary, Antietam Academy, Western Heights Middle, and Bester Elementary, will be eligible for an additional stipend of $5,000.
* The BOE will pay 100% of tuition, books, and fees for a teacher who applies for and is approved to become highly qualified in a critical need area. In exchange, the teacher must commit to three years of employment with WCPS.
* Enhancements to compensation for extracurricular activities for the next two years.
* Tuition reimbursement for online credits taken by teachers.
* The superintendent may declare a position vacant if a teacher has been absent for more than 30 consecutive days (except for family medical leave) or 45 intermittent absences within a 60 day workday period. The previous time frames were 45 consecutive days or 60 intermittent days within a 90 workday period.