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After impasse, Prince George’s finalizes agreement with teachers union

Students return for the first day of school at Eleanor Roosevelt High School on Aug. 29 in Greenbelt, Md. (Michael A. McCoy for The Washington Post)

The Prince George’s school system and its teachers union ratified a new three-year contract last week that will boost teacher pay and increases time for teachers to plan lessons.

Donna Christy, president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, said she believes the contract will help retain and recruit more educators to the county, which — like many other districts — has struggled with staffing schools.

“A lot of it really helps start to give more control of the profession back to the educators, and starts to set the stage for our educators to have more autonomy and voice in their own profession,” Christy said in an interview Monday.

Prince George’s teachers union reaches tentative deal with schools

Under the contract, teachers will get a 6 percent cost-of-living increase during the first fiscal year, which began July 1. It will be followed by a 4 percent increase the following year, and an additional 3 percent increase during the third fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2024.

Teachers who have a National Board Certification — a voluntary, advanced teaching certification — receive an additional boost of $13,000 in salary pay, Christy said. Teachers with the certification in a low-performing school will receive an extra $9,000 on top of that — totaling a $22,000 increase in pay.

The contract also includes a $100 stipend for teachers to buy schools supplies, and provides additional protections around planning time. Teachers at elementary schools, early childhood centers and special-education centers obtained a minimum of 240 minutes of time each week — roughly 15 more minutes than they had before. Teachers at middle and high schools have a minimum of 45 minutes of planning time each school day, and for two days each week, their planning time must be a full class period.

Administrators also can’t cut into teacher’s allotted personal planning time by scheduling “collaborative planning” during those periods, when educators across a department meet. Christy explained that many union members had run into problems with their personal planning time being used instead for collaborative planning.

Prince George’s schools at impasse with teachers union in contract talks

Last week’s county school board vote solidifies the tentative agreement reached last month. The new contract is retroactive to July 1 and ends June 30, 2025.

The union made more than 100 proposals during the contract negotiation process. It reached an agreement with the school system on about 80 of those proposals, Christy said.

The school system did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The district ratified its contracts with four other employee unions representing administrators, principals, facility service employees and education support professionals in June.

More on local education

The latest: In Loudoun County, a conservative candidate and a left-leaning candidate were leading in the race for two seats on the school board. Meanwhile, a majority of incumbent school board members in Maryland’s metro area were leading in their reelection bids.

K-12 classrooms: The Montgomery County school system is revisiting safety training after a report of a student with a gun led to a campus lockdown. New safety protocols also are in the works in D.C. after a bus driver crashed a bus and was charged with a DUI. A settlement in a public records lawsuit reveals some of the emails submitted to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s education tip line.

On campus: The University of Maryland has pledged to expand aid for in-state students who have significant financial need. What the twists, turns and drops of roller coasters are teaching Johns Hopkins University students about engineering.

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