Catching up on contracts

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As the school year wound down, NCTQ was busy analyzing newly ratified collective bargaining agreements. Districts varied a lot on these matters, but they have one thing in common: all found it difficult to reach an agreement. Only one (Fargo) ratified the new contract before the old contract expired. 

Here are the highlights (our Tr3 database contains the full text of the agreements): 

Brevard County, FL (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2014)

  • Brevard County is giving teachers a 1 percent retroactive bonus for the last school year with a 1.5 percent cost of living increase this year. There will also be some kind of bonus this year, but the amount is up in the air. 
  • The district is capping its contribution to teacher health insurance premiums at the current level, so if plan costs increase, teachers will bear the additional costs.

Fargo, ND (July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2015)

  • All teachers will get a raise of approximately $900.
  • Unions get a win with a new provision that allows a teacher to submit a grievance and to request arbitration through the union or individually if the outcome isn't to the teacher's liking. The silver lining for the district is that the arbitration is non-binding.

Hawaii (July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2017)

  • Effectively restoring previous pay cuts, all teachers get a 5 percent across-the-board raise as well as a step increase. The district also kicks in a higher portion of the health insurance premium, upping its share from 50 percent to 60 percent. Next year teachers will get a 3.2 percent raise, but no step increases. Then the effectiveness gateways kick in: in 2015-2016 only effective and highly effective teachers will get step increases, and in 2016-2017 teachers who make the grade (effective or highly effective) will get a 3.2 percent raise. 
  • Board policy now requires teachers to have six "effective" semesters (three school years) to earn tenure. This contract rewards them with a $2,500 bonus when they hit this mark.
  • All teachers will now have annual evaluations with 50 percent of the evaluation rating based on student growth measures; evaluation ratings will now fall into four categories compared to the previous three. 
  • Each of the next two school years will include an additional 21 hours of professional development provided through extended work days for all teachers. 

Little Rock, AR  (August 1, 2012 - October 31, 2015)

  • Teacher salaries were retroactively increased by approximately 2.8 percent for 2012-2013 and negotiations are ongoing for salaries for the upcoming school year. Data yet to come on state funding and changes to health insurance premiums are likely to impact the final agreement.
  • Catching up with recent changes in state law, the district will now use a new evaluation system which requires that student achievement data be a component of the evaluation.
  • Should layoffs rear their ugly heads, teachers will now be laid off based on a score in a rubric system in which equal weight is assigned to performance, evaluation, attendance, and degrees/ professional development rather than seniority.
  • The retirement incentive which allowed teachers to earn a payout for accrued, unused sick leave was eliminated in this contract.

Oakland, CA  (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013)

  • For the first time since 2008, Oakland teachers are getting a pay raise. For the school year that ended in June, teachers received a retroactive salary increase of 2.4 percent; negotiations are continuing for the 2013-2014 compensation package. Changes to the way California funds schools means more funding for Oakland and more to talk about at the bargaining table.
  • Up to four schools will pilot a new teacher evaluation instrument based on performance standards; each school is permitted to submit proposals for its own evaluation system and, depending on available resources, the selected schools will participate in the pilot for the 2013-2014 school year.

For more about Oakland, check out our Oakland district study, released in March, 2013. 

Springfield, MA  (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2014)

  • New teachers and most current teachers are being placed on a new salary schedule, which the contract touts as more competitive with those of surrounding districts. Here's a rundown of the changes and scheduled raises:
    • The contract reduces the number of lanes from nine to five, but the district continues to penalize teachers who don't get a master's degree, giving them a 2 percent pay increase on average, while those with master's degrees see a 3 percent pay increase on average.
    • Teachers will get a 5.5 percent pay increase over the next three years.
  • Directly responding to the NCTQ recommendation in our Springfield district study, teachers will no longer receive so many sick days (down to 10 from 15); however, if teachers use four or fewer days, they will be rewarded with an additional five bonus sick days (for a total of 15) on the last day of school, presumably so that they can cash those days in on retirement.

Want more info on the contracts we track?  Contact our Tr3 teacher contract database manager, Ginger Moored, at