montgomery county
Teachers ratify new contract, with raises

Montgomery County teachers ratified a new contract Wednesday that would provide raises totaling about 5.5 percent over three years for 12,000 educators but would require employees to pay a larger share of health insurance premiums.

The new compensation, which also includes increases in steps for eligible employees, is partly offset by the health insurance changes. Identical financial terms have been negotiated with other employee organizations for a total cost of $35.8 million in new compensation for the school system’s 22,000 employees, schools officials said.

For teachers, the new contract also includes provisions for two new initiatives: One would create incentives for high-performing teacher-leaders to work in 57 high-poverty schools. The other is intended to develop ways to add student feedback to the teacher evaluation process, bring teacher feedback into principal evaluations and add principal feedback into associate superintendent evaluations.

Salary increases would be 1.5 percent in November 2014; 2 percent in October 2015; and 2 percent in September 2016.

Nearly 94 percent of the 5,516 members who cast votes supported the deal, which would take effect in fiscal year 2015.

— Donna St. George

national education
Obama wants more education spending

President Obama wants to increase discretionary spending for the Education Department in 2015 by about 2 percent, from $67.3 billion to $68.6 billion, the largest increase of any agency besides the Defense Department.

That’s in addition to $14.4 billion the federal government gives in formula grants to states to help educate poor children and $11.5 billion it provides for special education. In both of those categories, funding would remain flat.

It is unclear how the president’s proposals for education will fare on Capitol Hill. Some Republican leaders in Congress were either lukewarm or outright hostile to the spending plan.

— Lyndsey Layton


The perfect score on the redesigned SAT college admission test, which is set to debut in 2016, when today’s high school freshmen sit for the exam during their junior year. The test had been at 2400; the new test reverts to the old scoring range and makes the essay portion optional.