On salary and benefits language for 2013-2014 school year.
The Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA) and the Board of Education have reached a tentative agreement on salary and benefits language for the 2013-14 school year. The FCTA Board of Directors voted to send the new proposed contract language to its members for a ratification vote. The FCTA Board is recommending that teachers ratify the proposed agreement. Salary and benefits were the only items to be negotiated this year as the rest of the contract language is in place until July 1, 2014.
Features of the tentative agreement include a step increase for all eligible teachers, implemented on July 1, 2013, a 9% increase in insurance premiums for both the Board of Education and employees and $5 increases in employee co-pays for doctor visits and prescription medications. The agreement does not include furlough days and continues a joint FCTA-BOE task force to study and make recommendations regarding changes to the FCPS teacher salary schedule.
In addition to formal bargaining sessions, this year’s process involved an innovative approach in which three members of the Board of Education and three members of the FCTA Board met in informal sessions to review and discuss budget projections.
"All sides have worked diligently to come to an agreement. Focused efforts, rich dialogue and a commitment of mutual respect have brought us to a point where we are able to jointly advocate for an FCPS budget that supports the needs of our school system," said Paula Lawton, FCPS Human Resources executive director and the Board’s chief negotiator with the FCTA.
"Throughout negotiations, FCTA has been a strong and consistent advocate for the teachers of Frederick County. Our BOE, the negotiating teams and the Superintendent have worked to identify a salary and benefits package that is fair and fiscally appropriate," Lawton added. "The Board values and genuinely appreciates the efforts of our employees, and BOE members truly recognize the impact staff has on student achievement".
FCTA President Gary Brennan said, "The FCTA Board of Directors is gratified that this agreement includes full implementation of the contractual step increase for the first time in five years. Restoring the integrity of our salary schedule was a top priority of the FCTA negotiations team, and combined with this years delayed step we will move teachers two steps in two years.
"Changes to insurance will take a bite out of employees’ pockets, but the Association, like the Board, seeks to ensure the long-term financial health of the FCPS self-insurance fund. BOE employees are paying their share to support this valuable benefit," Brennan added.
"The FCTA leadership is encouraged that this settlement comes well before teachers leave in June and, if ratified by our members, will allow teachers peace of mind knowing they have a settled agreement before the start of summer. FCTA will advocate for the full funding of the BOE’s proposed budget," Brennan noted.
FCTA will send details of the proposed settlement and ratification ballots to members next week. Ballots are due back to FCTA by Friday, May 3. If the Association receives a majority to ratify, final action comes before the Board of Education.
Negotiations with the Frederick Association of School Support Employees (FASSE) and the Frederick County Administrative and Supervisory Association (FCASA) are ongoing. "We hope, said FCPS chief of staff Jamie Cannon, who is also the Board’s chief negotiator with FASSE," that all parties will be able to conclude negotiations before the last school day."
The 2013-14 agreement is the third of a three-year contract for FASSE and the fourth of a five-year contract for FCASA.