The Board of Education voted Tuesday to approve four-year negotiated contracts with the employee associations representing teachers and support professionals. A contract with the employee association representing administrators was approved at the May 24 Board of Education meeting. The negotiated agreements forego all salary increases for employees in Fiscal Year 2011, including both cost of living and step increases. The contracts also include an opportunity for negotiations on salary increases to be reopened in subsequent years of the contract.
The new contracts are between Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP/MCBOA), and SEIU Local 500. The three associations represent teachers, principals and other school-based and central services administrators, and support professionals, respectively.
“Our outstanding staff members are the key ingredient to the success of our students,” said Patricia B. O’Neill, president of the Board of Education. “On behalf of the entire Board of Education, I want to express sincere appreciation for the sacrifices that they have made in accepting a contract that contains no increases in salary, at the same time that budget cuts have necessitated larger class sizes and, in general, required even more effort and dedication from every employee.”
In addition to salaries, the contracts also focus on a renewed commitment to respectful collaboration and address a number of working condition issues, including giving educators more autonomy in managing their preparation time and pilot projects to increase collaboration opportunities for supporting services personnel.
“While the fiscal realities of the county’s budget mean that MCEA members will forego any increase in pay, this new contract will expand the ability of teachers and other educators to influence the day to day decisions that most affect their work with students,” said Doug Prouty, president of MCEA.
"In a year with great challenges, through our collaborative process, we were able to keep jobs and benefits, which was the number one priority for our members,” said Merle Cuttitta, president of SEIU Local 500. “We were also successful in creating contract language which looks to the future of training and development of support staff as leaders and their continuing role in student achievement."
“Once again, our members and all of the employees in MCPS have sacrificed in the negotiations process, as well as the budget, to ensure that students have what they need to learn and grow,” said Rebecca Newman, president of MCAAP/MCBOA. “We are proud of our commitment to student learning and of our relationship with MCPS and our sister unions.”
Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast thanked the employee associations and all MCPS staff for their dedication to students and their cooperation in these difficult times.
“The school system has worked closely with all three employee associations over the past decade to develop the reforms that have supported unprecedented levels of student success and significantly narrowed the achievement gap,” Dr. Weast said. “I am grateful for the way our employees have kept their eyes steadfastly on the long term goal of student success despite their personal sacrifices resulting from challenging economic times.”