The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on them next week
Frederick, Md. (KM) – Tentative contracts have been reached between the Frederick County Board of Education and the Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA), the Frederick County Association of School Support Employees (FASSE) and the Frederick County Administrative and Supervisor Association (FCASA).
The School System says this marks the first time in several negotiating cycles that all three bargaining units have reach agreements simultaneously.
“It was awesome working with all three associations collaboratively to come to an agreement,”: says School Board President Brad Young. “And these agreements give a significant pay raise of over 7% to our staff which will help make us more be competitive with other counties.”
The agreements provide 7.14% pay increases for School System staff. For the FCTA, it’s a step which on average equals 2.14%, and, if eligible, a 5% cost of living increase. In the agreement with FASSE, there’s restructured salary schedule to include that pay raise. The agreement with FCASA is a 7.14% salary pool.
The FCTA agreement has language for an additional 80-minutes of planning time per month for elementary and middle school teachers. Young says having that planning time is a big issue for teachers.
In the FASSE agreement, there a work schedule to reduce the number of work calendars, and there’s tuition reimbursement. For FCASA members there a sick leave bank, the creation of a salary study work group to focus on recruitment and retention, and the establishment of a work/life balance work group.
All three bargaining units have a 5.5% increase in health insurance premiums effective July 1st, 2022.
Even though the salary situation has improved somewhat for teachers, Young says there’s still a long way to go. “We’re not there where we need to be and certainly under the Blueprint, we need to get to a $60,000 starting salary, I believe, by ’25 or ’26. So I’m hoping this puts us somewhere in the low 50’s. So we still have a lot of work to do,”: he says.
Young has said the Frederick County’s starting salaries for teachers is one of the lowest in Maryland.
“This was hard year for educators in FCPS and around the country,,” says FCTA President Missy Dirks, in a statement. “There are significant challenges facing public education. Recruitment and retention and the working conditions of our members are always forefront with FCTA in negotiations. We worked together with FCPS to reach a tentative agreement that makes progress on salary, elementary and middle school planning time, and start to address implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future law. We will continue to work with FCPS to address salary, Blueprint implementation , and other working conditions next year.”
FCASA President Dr. Danny Rumpf had similar comments regarding negotiations with the School Board. “FCASA appreciates the Board’s willingness to collaborate with us over these past couple of months,” he said in a statement. “We feel the Board respected our input during these negotiations and feel we have made some steps in the right directions. We look forward to continuing these conversations in the future.”
FASSE President Sharon Eburg said in a statement. “Discussions regarding support employee working conditions, salaries and benefits were at the heart of our engagement. As a result, we have reached a tentative agreement that is fair and a step in the right direction. FASSE is pleased to have completed a collaborative and successful round of negotiations with FCPS.”
Young says there was a lot of give and take during negotiations. “There’s always some head butting, but that’s part of the process,:” he says. “In my 12 years, we’ve always come to an agreement and very proud of that. But it’s come with at times where we have to negotiate back and forth to get the settlement.”
The contracts have been submitted to the rank and file of FCTA, FASSE and FCASA for their consideration and their votes. If the three agreements are approved, they will go before the Board of Ed on Wednesday, June 8th for a vote, and signatures.
By Kevin McManus