BOE and MCEA Reach Tentative Agreement on Contract
The Montgomery County Board of Education and the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) have reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract that provides teachers with salary increases, implements a new program to attract highly effective teachers to high-needs schools, and increases the share employees pay for health insurance.
The contract, which will be voted on by the membership of MCEA, would 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.
The other two MCPS employee associations—the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals (MCAAP) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500—are close to reaching a tentative agreement with the Board, although final details are being negotiated.
“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 MCEA agreement calls for teachers 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.
“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.
The contract calls for teachers 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.
The Montgomery County Board of Education is scheduled to approve a final budget request for FY 2015 on Feb. 11. Dr. Starr’s initial budget recommendation did not include money for compensation increases or changes to the benefit structure. His final recommendation to the Board will be adjusted to include about $35.8 million to fund compensation increases for all MCPS employees.