FCTA, Board Of Education, Reach Tentative Contract

The agreement sets aside $4.1-million to move to a new teacher salary scale.

The Frederick County Teachers Association and the Board of Education have reached a tentative contract.

School System spokesman Michael Doerrer says the agreement puts aside $4.1-million to to begin a four-year transition to a new teacher pay scale. He says  that means some additional compensation for teachers. “It raises the starting salary for new teachers, which will help keep us be competitive with neighboring districts. That’s very important,” he says. “It also raises teacher pay across the board in a way that will help us retain our county’s most experienced teachers, naturally good news for our students, for our schools.”

For many years, it’s been difficult to keep good teachers in Frederick County because of the low pay. Many have left  to teach in other jurisdictions which offer a higher salary. In addition, many beginning teachers have bypassed Frederick County because of its low starting salaries compared to other jurisdictions.

“This tentative agreement supports the Board of Education’s strategic goal to recruit and retain outstanding educators,” say Superintendent of Schools Dr. Theresa Alban, in a statement.

Doerrer also notes that Frederick County has the lowest starting salaries of any school system in the state. “The fact that we are the lowest in starting teacher salaries; the fact that it is hard to retain our best teachers. Those are direct consequences of under funding our schools,” he says.

“Our dedicated and caring teachers deserve to be compensated and respected for their professional qualifications and experience,” said FCTA President Missy Dirks, in a statement. “Through the negotiations process, we have jointly created a target scale that does more to recognize those qualifications. Transitioning teachers to the new scales in the shortest feasible time frame is the best way to make our salaries competitive.”

Doerrer  also says the new pay scale being implemented will be more predictable for teachers. “The new teacher pay scale that’s being proposed provides a more reliable, sustainable approach to pay increases for teachers over the long term,” he says.

The details of the contract are being mailed out to FCTA members, along with a ballot. If they ratify  the agreement, it will go before the Board of Education for a vote, and a signing ceremony. It will go into  affect on July 1st.