This month’s installment of Catching up on Contracts brings news of contract changes in three school districts in NCTQ’s Teacher Contract Database: Clark County (NV) School District, Kansas City (MO) School District and Portland (ME) Public Schools.
Clark County School District (NV), October 9, 2014 through July 31, 2015
The biggest changes in Clark County’s latest contract have to do with teachers’ salaries.
There are two salary schedules in place for the 2014-2015 school year. One schedule covers teachers from September 2014 through the end of February 2015. This schedule adds one level to each step of the salary schedule, effectively raising a teacher’s maximum earnings on each step. The second salary schedule, which covers teachers from March 2015 through the end of the school year, includes a one percent across-the-board salary increase for all teachers.
Kansas City (MO) School District, August 2, 2014 through August 1, 2017
Kansas City’s latest contract includes changes to the grievance process, teacher work day, collaborative planning and teacher salaries.
The current contract shows a new grievance process that takes the third step of the process out of the hands of district and union representatives (the Grievance Appeals Panel) and replaces it with an impartial third party decision-maker, through an optional meeting with a mediator and a meeting with a hearing officer:
Step 1: Immediate supervisor
Step 2: Director of Human Resources
Step 3: Grievance Appeals Panel
(comprised of district & union reps)
Step 4: Superintendent
Step 5: Arbitrator
Step 1: Immediate supervisor
Step 2: Chief of Human Capital
Step 3: Mediator (optional)
Step 4: Hearing officer
Step 5: Superintendent
Step 6: Arbitrator
Teacher work day
Under the latest contract, the teacher work week is reduced by a total of 70 minutes. The previous contract required teachers to work eight hours every day of the week, while the new contract requires teachers to work an increased workday one day of the week (8 hours, 30 minutes on Wednesdays) and a decreased workday all other days (7 hours, 35 minutes).
Collaborative planning time
In the previous contract, teachers received 40 minutes of “common time” each day. A maximum of four 40 minute common time sessions could be used for collaborative planning. The current contract removes common time planning and replaces it with the extended day on Wednesdays. The additional 75 minutes on Wednesday is designed for professional development, staff meetings, department or grade level meetings and data-cycle meetings (assessing and interpreting data for learning). The extended Wednesday workday is designed for group work and is in addition to the 250 minutes of individual planning time required by the contract.
This year, teachers receive a one percent increase in salary. In addition, the final step of each salary lane (steps 16A and 20A) has been permanently adjusted upward by another one percent and will increase by another one percent in 2015-2016.
Portland Public Schools (ME), August 27, 2014 through August 26, 2016
Finally, of the three district covered in this edition of Catching up on Contracts, Portland’s contract has the most changes by far, with updated policies affecting the school day, teacher work day and work week, layoffs, salary, benefits and sick leave.
Effective 2015-2016, the school day will increase by 20 minutes per day, from 6 hours, 10 minutes to 6 hours, 30 minutes. However, the number of school days in the school year will decrease from 180 days to 178 days. The net increase of instructional time over the school year is 46 hours.
Teacher work day and work week
Next school year, teachers will also work a longer day, up from 6 hours, 30 minutes per day to 7 hours, 30 minutes. Some of this additional time, 180 minutes, is designed for activities such as student assistance, monthly faculty meetings, curriculum meetings and professional development. But like students, teachers will also have a shorter school year; beginning 2015-2016, teacher will work 183 days, down from the current 187 days.
Portland made a slight change to its layoff policy, in response to state law that mandates the use teacher evaluation ratings and eliminates seniority as the sole basis for layoffs.
While the previous contract used seniority as the main factor in layoffs, it allowed priority to be given to teachers with “greater qualifications or ability.” The new contract amends this definition to mean better teacher performance ratings. Thus, while the district has, as required by law, included a teacher’s performance rating in the policy, seniority is effectively still the prevailing criterion.
The contract freezes salary and step increases in 2014-2015 with the exception of approved lane changes. In 2015-2016, teachers will receive a two percent cost-of- living increase as well as step increases.
Effective 2015-2016, the district’s cost sharing of any increases in health insurance premiums is capped at 3 percent.
Beginning in 2015-2016, the district will limit the number of sick days a teacher can accumulate to 183 days, down from the 187 days offered under the previous contract. This coincides with the reduction of the school year for teachers to 183 days.