Editor's Note: This release was updated on February 11, 2014 to reflect tentative agreements with all three employee associations.
The Montgomery County Board of Education and the three associations that represent Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) employees have reached a tentative agreement on new, three-year contracts. The contracts provide employees with salary increases, implement a new program to attract highly effective teachers to high-needs schools, and increase the share employees pay for health insurance.
The contracts with the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 must still be approved by the membership of each association. The contracts will go into effect beginning with Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.
“This agreement is a fair and responsible deal for our employees and for the taxpayers of Montgomery County, who generously invest in the success of our school system,” said Phil Kauffman, president of the Board of Education.
“Our employee associations are outstanding advocates for their members, but also understand the importance of being fiscally responsible and focused on the needs of students,” Superintendent Joshua P. Starr said. “Negotiations like this are never easy, but it helps to know that everyone in the room has an unwavering commitment to the education and well-being of our children.”
The agreements calls for employees to receive a general wage increase in each of the next three years—1.5 percent in FY 2015 and 2 percent in FY 2016 and FY 2017. Eligible employees will also move up a step on the salary scale in each of the three years. These salary changes will occur on November 29, 2014, October 3, 2015, and September 3, 2016.
The contract calls for employees to pay a greater share of their health insurance premiums. Over the next two years, the amount each employee pays will increase by 7 percentage points. Beginning in 2016, employees will be able to lower their benefit costs if they participate in a voluntary health risk assessment and/or submit the results of a routine blood test. The contract also calls for employees who smoke to pay three percent more for their health benefits beginning in 2016. The benefit changes are expected to save about $5 million in FY 2015 and $18.5 million in FY 16 and each year thereafter.
The contract includes the implementation of the “Career Lattice,” which will provide supplements to highly effective teachers who choose to move to or remain in high-needs schools. This is an opportunity to acknowledge veteran teachers who make the decision to stay in the classroom, rather than move into administration. The contract also includes several other non-economic provisions.
“This contract not only gives our employees economic security, it invests in our ‘Career Lattice’ program to attract and retain top teachers in our highest need schools and reaffirms the system’s commitment to investing in our professional development,” said Doug Prouty, MCEA president.
“Our employees were among the hardest hit by cutbacks during the economic downturn. This contract recognizes the sacrifices they made and their continued excellence in service of all MCPS students,” said Merle Cuttitta, president of SEIU Local 500.
“This contract recognizes the significant contributions of our administrators, principals and supervisors, and all those who work on behalf of our students throughout MCPS,” said Debra Mugge, president of MCAAP.
The Montgomery County Board of Education approved a $2.3 billion budget on Tuesday, February 11, which includes $35.8 million to fund the economic provisions in the contract for FY 2015.