Montgomery County teachers could receive more than $40 million in compensation increases for fiscal 2014, if employees approve a tentative contract agreement with the public school system.

Teachers have until March 21 to vote on the contact, which includes $18.6 million in raises for employees. That would bring compensation up to more than $40 million when combined with $22.1 million in raises that start this May to make up for step increases missed in 2011.

The details of the contract for teachers includes an automatic step increase for eligible employees starting Feb. 8, 2014 and a 2 percent increase in base pay for employees who don’t receive step increases.

School and union officials have said the raises are their way of “valuing employees” and restoring teacher pay lost over the years. Montgomery County educators did not receive cost of living increases for three years starting in 2010 and they didn’t receive step increases for either 2011 or 2012.

Raises for teachers in Montgomery have been controversial. Not only are they some of the most well-paid regionally and nationally, but educators also got raises in fiscal 2013 while county employees received only a one-time $2,000 bonus.

“We’re well aware of the concern that the council has related to salaries and the concern the council has with [going over] over maintenance of effort, but we think that this is a reasonable budget and a reasonable ask within the larger county context of where the county is with their thinking on their [employee groups,” said teachers union vice president Chris Lloyd during negotiations.

This year, County Executive Ike Leggett(D) has developed a tentative agreement that would give most workers more than 13 percent in compensation increases for the next two years.

The school system has been in joint labor negotiations with the Montgomery County Education Association, Service Employees International Union and the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals since fall.

Leggett is expected to release his budget recommendations on Friday for the County Council to review.