Prince George’s County teachers ratify contract

September 17, 2013

Prince George’s County teachers will receive a 2 percent cost-of-living pay adjustment, retroactive to July 1, as part of a three-year contract approved by the Board of Education.

The union, which includes 9,200 teachers, ratified the contract after the board vote last week.

Kenneth Haines, the president of the teachers’ union said he hopes that the new agreement helps the county to retain quality teachers.

“Hopefully this negotiated agreement will dissuade some teachers from departing for neighboring jurisdictions, or leaving the profession entirely,” Haines said. “Ultimately double-digit turnover, such as we have experienced this year, is harmful to children and the academic progress we all cherish.”

Haines said 955 teachers were hired this year after the district lost teachers through retirements and resignations.

Prince George’s County teachers have increasingly taken jobs in neighboring counties, where the starting and average salaries are higher.

The other major changes in the agreement include a $1,000 senior teacher differential, partial restoration of tuition reimbursement, and the implementation of a seniority step in January for those teachers who are eligible.

Segun Eubanks, the chairman of the Board of Education, said teachers have not had step or cost-of-living increases for a couple of years.

“We’re restoring things that teachers once enjoyed, but now couldn’t because of our financial situation,” Eubanks said. “We’re hoping that by bringing our teachers back to the level where they should have been financially they can enjoy a decent living standard. . . This sends a clear message that we are committed to treating our teachers and employees fairly and well and to better compete with our neighboring counties in the compensation package. We’re still behind, but our long-term goal is to be up to par.”

Ovetta Wiggins writes about K-12 education.
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