A tentative agreement was reached.
The Frederick County Teachers Association and the Board of Education have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract for teachers. FCTA members voted last month against ratifying an earlier proposal. Since then, FCTA representatives and the Board have met to continue negotiations in order to avoid an impasse. Their continued negotiations have yielded progress. The FCTA Board of Directors recently voted to send a new proposed contract to its members for ratification. The FCTA Board of Directors is recommending that teachers ratify the proposed agreement.
In a press release, Jamie R. Cannon, chief negotiator for the Board of Education, welcomed the agreement. "Ultimately, the Board, the Superintendent, and the FCTA were committed to maintaining an open and respectful dialogue. They were willing to keep talking and keep working – their leadership is what got us to an agreement."
The proposed teacher contract, which covers the 2012-13 school year, calls for:
· Advancement of a step increase for eligible employees to October 15 (from December 1) using savings gained from one furlough day for teachers on the last teacher work day of the 2012-13 school year.
· An 8% increase in the Board’s contribution to employee insurance premiums, retroactive to July 1, with a deferral of employees’ 8% insurance premium increase until December 1.
· Evaluation of any salary savings (from retirements, resignations, etc.) at the end of FY13 with the understanding that the Board will provide employees a one-time payment of any savings not necessary to balance the FY14 operating budget or fund FY13 budget shortages.
· Creation of a joint FCTA/FCPS taskforce to meet during the 2012-13 school year to study salary scales.
· Commitment by the Board and FCTA to meet up to three times during the 2012-13 school year to encourage collaboration and open communication.
Board President Angie L. Fish was pleased with the outcome. "Fair and competitive salaries for teachers are critical to continuing to offer our students the best instruction," she said. "While the Board and the FCTA have had to wrestle with many difficult issues during negotiations, this proposed settlement is a step in the right direction for our teachers, our students, and our county."
FCTA President Gary Brennan noted: "This tentative agreement is a step forward and contains provisions that will ensure collaborative engagement between teachers and the Board of Education during the coming school year. The FCTA Board of Directors appreciates that the Board of Education was open to finding ways to improve the previous offer within the fiscal restraints they face. It is our hope that this agreement will help the Teachers Associations and the school system address long term challenges in a positive and productive manner."
Teachers will receive the proposed contract along with voting ballots as early as next week. Ballots are due back to FCTA by August 8.
Contracts for the school system’s other two bargaining units, the Frederick Association of School Support Employees and the Frederick County Administrative and Supervisory Association, were approved in June. FASSE and FCASA leaders are considering asking for an adjustment to the provisions of their agreements based on the tentative deal with teachers. The Board is open to adjusting those agreements if FASSE and FCASA representatives are equally receptive to advancing the step increase in exchange for a furlough day.
If the proposed teacher contract is approved by FCTA members and the Board, it will become effective upon signing. The current contract on salary and benefits expired on June 30.