It contains salary improvements for teachers.
Frederick, Md (KM) In an overwhelmingly vote last Friday, May 17th, the Frederick County Teachers Association approved a new contract with the Board of Education. FCTA President Missy Dirks says it’s the culmination of a four-year transition to a new salary scale for teachers. “Four years ago, the Board of Education and the FCTA had agreed on a new target scale that would make our salaries more competitive with the surrounding jurisdictions because at that time, we had the lowest starting teacher salary in the state,” she says.
Dirks also says the pay for experienced teachers who had developed close ties with the community was also among the lowest in Maryland. “They were leaving because they couldn’t afford to live in Frederick County anymore when they could drive ten, 15-minutes to a surrounding jurisdiction,” she says. “Washington County was paying more than we were.”
The proposed new teacher contract covers the 2019–2020 school year, and provides for increases in starting pay for new teachers, pay improvements for senior teachers and an average pay increase for all teachers of 5%. It also has a 2% medical insurance premium increase.
The contract awaits a vote by the Board of Education, and both sides will sign it.
Board President Brad Young says he’s pleased with the outcome. “We all know that providing fair and competitive salaries is critical to our students in the classroom,” he said in a statement. “While the Board of Education and FCTA have to address many difficult issues during negotiations, we are always focused on doing what’s best for our schools, our students.”
And Dirks says well paid teachers can make a difference in the classroom. “Being able retain those highly qualified connected staff is super important to our students,” she says. “Students who have teachers who are highly qualified and invested in the community, our students perform better.’
Despite achieving this contract, Dirks says more work needs to be done. One is keeping salaries competitive with other school systems. “We agreed on this new scale four years, and it was set to the competitive rates of four years. But a lot of the surrounding jurisdictions have also increased their pay,” she says.
In addition, Dirks says the two sides need to address workload issues, and making sure teachers have adequate resources for classroom instruction.
By Kevin McManus