Prince George's County teachers will receive their first pay increase in three years.
At the end of the county school board meeting Tuesday, the board unanimously approved a new three-year contract with the Prince George's County Educators' Association, the union representing more than 9,000 teachers, guidance counselors, speech pathologists, media specialists and other non-supervisory certified educators in the school system.
"We have excellent teachers who have stayed the course despite not receiving a pay increase in three years," PGCEA Executive Director Lewis Robinson said in a statement. "This contract demonstrates in several ways the Board of Education’s commitment to recognize its workforce in spite of the difficult fiscal challenges that we faced in this negotiation."
School system spokesman Briant Coleman said the increases will cost the school system an estimated additional $13 million to $14 million.
The contract brings to a conclusion negotiations that have been ongoing between the school board and the teacher's union over the past three years, and takes effect immediately.
“This contract keeps us focused on our priority of ensuring highly effective teaching,” said Alvin L. Crawley, interim superintendent of schools. “We appreciate the collaboration of our teachers’ union and we look forward to not only continuing to make academic progress but regaining our competitive edge in retention and recruitment of highly effective teachers.”
The pay increase, which is effective for the current school year, includes a step increase to the next level on the pay scale for teachers, and a 2 percent one-time payment for those at the top of the pay scale.
The contract also allows teachers to telework for the three days in the schedule set aside for grading and planning and makes no changes to teachers' health care benefits.
In addition, the contract establishes a Turnaround Leadership Council composed of teachers, labor partners and administrators to address issues related to recruitment, placement and development of staff at the county’s six "turnaround" schools: Benjamin Stoddert, Drew Freeman, G. James Gholson, Oxon Hill, Thomas Johnson and Thurgood Marshall middle schools.
The federal program provides grants to institute reforms at schools that consistently perform far below national standards, while requiring the schools to institute instructional reforms, increase student learning time, improve teacher and administration effectiveness and provide sustained support, according to information from the county school system website.
This story originally appeared in the Oct. 25 edition of the Prince George's Gazette.