Montgomery County teachers voted overwhelmingly last week to ratify a new two-year contract. Terms of the contract, agreed to recently by representatives of the school board and the teacher's union, the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), guarantee teachers a substantial pay increase over the next two years.
Under the new contract, approved by 82 percent of the teachers, county educators will receive a 10 percent increase during the 1980-81 school year and a minimum of a 7 percent increase, or 75 percent of the inflation rate, the following year.
Union President David Eberly said, "The salary is not as good as we would like to have achieved, but it will help us keep pace with spiralling inflation."
As the cost of living raced ahead of pay increases in the present contract, Montgomery teachers became the lowest paid in the Washington area.
Once the raise is in effect, the starting salary for a Montgomery County teacher with a bachelor's degree will go from $11,003 to $12,103 -- still behind Fairfax County, which is proposing a $14,043 starting teacher salary for next year.
The teacher pay raises, which sent the Montgomery school budget for next year up to $314 million, still must be approved by the County Council.
School board presient Daryl Shaw said he hopes council members will approve the increase although it put the school budget $16 million over the sum the council suggested.
The new contract also guarantees the county's 6,000 teachers more job security and improving grievance procedures, according to Eberly. Involuntary transfers will not be covered in the grievance complaint process and in the second year of the contract, there will be a seniority system for layoffs.
"Furthermore, the new contract includes a non-discrimination clause," said Eberly, adding, "We feel this is a great accomplishment."