Pr. George’s teachers get 2 percent pay raise

Prince George’s County teachers will receive a one-time 2 percent salary increase — the first pay hike some have received in three years — after the Prince George’s County Board of Education unanimously approved a three-year contract with the teachers union.

“We have excellent teachers who have stayed the course despite not receiving a pay increase in three years,” Lewis Robinson, executive director of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, said in a statement. “This contract demonstrates in several ways the Board of Education’s commitment to recognize its work force in spite of the difficult fiscal challenges that we faced in this negotiation.”

The raises will cost the school system about $13 million, said spokesman Briant Coleman.

“It’s long overdue,” said the board’s chair, Verjeana Jacobs (District 5). Jacobs said the board and union will go back into negotiations next year about additional raises or bonuses.

The new three-year agreement addresses issues that include paid leave, teachers’ rights and working from home. Health benefits remain the same.

Christian Rhodes, education liaison for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), said Baker was pleased that the two sides were able to come to terms on a new contract.

“We view this agreement as an important step toward showing our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of all educators across Prince George’s County,” Rhodes said.

In addition to the pay increase, the work year for teachers will be shortened by one day, to 191 days for those who work 10 months and to 211 days for those who work 11 months, according to the new agreement.

The contract also allows teachers to telework on the three days that have been set aside for grading and planning, and it provides male teachers with 10 days of paid leave upon the birth of a child. Paid leave previously was offered only to mothers.

Under the new agreement, no personal leave will be allowed during the first five days of school unless the chief human resources officer approves it in writing.

The contract also requires that teachers receive a copy of any complaint made by a parent, student or any other person that is going to be used to “adversely affect their employment,” and new language says that the Board of Education cannot discriminate against employees because of age or sexual orientation.

Under that provision, employees can file administrative grievances instead of having to pursue legal action, which can be more costly and take longer.

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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