Contract Round Up

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Today's latest installment in our series on new contracts and other policy changes in NCTQ's Teacher Contract Database, will highlight a few of the changes that jumped out at us in six districts: Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Rochester, Anchorage and Christina (DE). 

Indianapolis Public Schools (IN), July, 2013 - June 30, 2014

At 23 pages, the agreement between the Indianapolis Education Association and the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners is one of the shortest in our database. No doubt, a 2011 Indiana law that restricted collective bargaining to salary and wage-related benefits contributes to the lean agreement we see in Indianapolis. This new contract brings more of the same - including the same salaries - as its predecessor agreement. 

Albuquerque Public Schools (NM) ,  September 2013 - July 2014

Without much of a budget for changes to compensation, teachers received a one-time 1% bonus in pay. Beyond that, Albuquerque's latest contract focuses on changes in language. There was some change related to professional development:

  • Professional Development:  The contract includes new language on collaborative planning, but it's somewhat loosey-goosey. Under the contract, collaborative planning meetings may occur as long as they don't interfere with a teacher's preparation time; the contract doesn't go further to specify when collaborative planning meetingscould take place, if they are held at all. 

Cleveland Metropolitan School District, July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2016

"The Cleveland Plan" passed by the state legislature in 2012 empowered the mayor's office to introduce some radical changes to the city's struggling school system. While the Cleveland Teachers Union continued to bargain over most of the usual issues, the reforms found in the Cleveland Plan changed the terms of the negotiations. As a result, seniority took a back seat to other considerations in many parts of the contract.

  • Teacher transfers: Seniority is no longer king. The district now uses a weighted point system to identify teachers for involuntary transfers in the case of budgetary reductions or program changes. In this new system, seniority still plays a role but just not as dominant of one. Points totals are based on years of teaching experience, certification area, licensure, and specialized training. Teachers with the fewest points are the first to be involuntarily transferred. For voluntary transfers, school selection committees are no longer allowed to use seniority as the primary factor in determining who to hire.
  • Layoffs: Seniority may only be a secondary factor in determining who is laid off. The recall period has changed from five to three years.
  • Evaluations:  Of the five Ohio school districts (Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati, Dayton and Cleveland) in NCTQ's Teacher Contract Database, Cleveland is the only one that is not using the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES). The district has developed its own model, the Teacher Development and Evaluation System. Whereas the state requires two formal classroom observations for all teachers, Cleveland requires two formal and three informal observations. Cleveland has also built an unusual appeal procedure into evaluations. A teacher can appeal any evaluation event to the superintendent, beginning with the first classroom observation. 
  • School day:  Students and teachers are working longer hours this year. The student school day has increased from six hours, thirty minutes to a full seven hours; teachers are now working seven hours, twenty minutes instead of six hours, forty minutes. As a comparison, the elementary teachers' cohorts in Toledo and Columbus work six and a half hours a day and five and a half hours per day, respectively.
  • Class size:  Not only are teachers working longer hours but they're carrying a bigger load. Class size has increased by three to five students at the elementary level. On the secondary level, whereas the contract used to restrict the number of students a teacher could have in a day (maximum of 170) it now sets a limit on individual class size at thirty students.
  • Salary: State law requires all districts to develop a differential compensation system based on performance, effective 2013-2014. To that end, Cleveland has identified five tiers on a teacher's career pathway: Resident, Professional, Specialist, Leader and Expert. Professional advancement is determined by a teacher'sAchievement Units.  The district is still in the process of determining what will comprise the Achievement Units.  Placement on each tier at the start of this school year was determined by the teacher's most recent step placement on last year's traditional salary schedule. The final two tiers, Leader and Expert, are positions a teacher may apply for and require a review process.  Teachers who are selected for either of those roles receive a stipend.

The last three districts in this round up have seen only minor changes.

Rochester City School District, June 30, 2013 - July 1, 2015

  • Salary: Teachers will be a little older and grayer before they reach the maximum step on the salary schedule. An additional longevity step was added to the schedule raising the number of years that it takes to reach the maximum salary by one year to 48. Wow. Teachers will receive a 1% annual adjustment increase this year as well as their step increases for another year of experience.

Anchorage School District (AK), July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2016

  • Salary: The contract included an increase of 1% to teacher salaries.
  • Leave: Teachers may take advantage of an additional half day of personal leave which has increased from 2.5 days per year to 3 days. Paid military leave has also increased from 15 days to 16.5 days.

Christina School District (DE), July 1, 2013- June 30, 2016

  • Salary: Teacher salaries are up by an average of 3% this year.  Just over 2% of that is an increase for another year's experience; the remainder, 0.8%, is the annual adjustment.