More than a month after teachers at Frederick County public schools returned to work without a contract, the county school board voted unanimously on Wednesday to ratify the tentative agreement it reached with the union representing teachers in the county last week.
Since a majority of Frederick County Teachers Association members also voted to approve the deal – 93%, said FCTA president Missy Dirks – the stalemate between the union and the board for more than two months is officially over.
At Wednesday night’s board meeting, Dirks called the ratified contract “fair and reasonable,” but noted that there was still work to be done.
âMany of the challenges that we have begun to address through this tentative agreement are not unique to FCPS,â she said. “But it is incumbent on us to find the solutions that allow us to retain our highly qualified staff who have worked so hard, especially over the past 18 months.”
Under the new contract – which will last until the 2023-2024 school year – all eligible employees will move up one step on the salary scale and receive a cost of living adjustment of 1.5%. They will also be paid retroactively for the time they have worked since the last contract expired in July, including the salary step and cost of living adjustment.
Teachers hired by February 1 of this year will also receive a retention bonus of $ 1,400 on their paycheque on December 15. education teachers and speech-language pathologists, allowing these employees to be paid for more of the hours they need to work to fulfill mandates demanded by the federal government.
At Wednesday’s meeting, FCPS Deputy Superintendent and Chief Council Negotiator Dr Mike Markoe noted that the contract also called for the creation of joint working groups between the two parties to discuss workload issues. related to special education and concurrent education.
He thanked the FCPS Board and Management for their support and guidance throughout the negotiation process, later adding: âI am grateful to FCPS President Missy Dirks as well as the entire FCTA bargaining team for their dedication to the process of negotiating a successful conclusion. “
The teachers’ previous contract expired on June 30 before the board and union reached consensus on a new agreement. After the Maryland Public School Labor Relations Board said the parties were at an impasse more than a month later, they selected a mediator and began the mediation process in September. Ten days later, they had reached an agreement in principle – an important step in a negotiation process that began in January.
The new contract ratified Wednesday night will go into effect immediately, Dirks said.
“We look forward to working together on the many teaching and learning issues that still need to be addressed,” she told the board on Wednesday.
Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @ 24_angier