Prince George’s Co. educators vote to ratify a new 3-year-deal

Teachers, paraprofessionals, school nurses and counselors in Maryland’s Prince George’s County have voted to accept a new three-year-contract with the public school system.

The deal includes increased pay and more planning time for teachers. The Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, which represents the county’s educators, said 99% of its voting members voted to ratify the contract.

Union president Dr. Donna Christy called the contract “historic,” with the union making progress on over 100 proposals its members had brought to the table.

“To be able to come away from the table with agreements on 80 items is really quite miraculous,” Christy said.

The deal establishes a 13% increase in salaries over three years, with some teachers who have certain national certifications able to earn anywhere from $4,000 to $13,000 more a year.

“We join our teachers in celebrating historic compensation increases that are the highest in the region, unmatched by any neighboring school system,” Meghan Gebreselassie, the school district’s director of communications, said in an email to WTOP.

“The new contract represents the greatest three-year salary and compensation increases recorded in nearly 30 years of negotiated agreements.”

Teachers will also get $100 a year to buy supplies for their classroom, and educators who want to go back to class themselves could receive up to $550 in tuition reimbursement per credit.

In instances when teachers must help to cover a class without a substitute, such as during their planning period, they will under the new contract be entitled to an extra $30 in year one, with the hourly rate going up $2 a year throughout the three-year contract.

That is up from an additional $18 an hour.

“This is a commensurate increase for what our members will get when they have to fill-in because of the lack of substitutes,” Christy said. Substitute teachers themselves do not fall under the contract.

School counselors and pupil personnel workers will also, starting next June, be able to have 11-month contracts with the school system. That is up from 10-month contracts.

The previous contract between educators and the school system expired on June 30. The county board of education must still vote to approve the deal, which they’re expected to do.

“The board of education and administration eagerly welcome the approval of this historic agreement that represents our commitment to teachers and all Unit I employees as they provide outstanding services to our students and school communities,” Gebreselassie said.

For Christy, she said this agreement was also about retaining teachers.

“And it was really about, you know, solving problems, the kinds of things that drive our members from the classroom that derive them from the profession, and really trying to improve working conditions overall, so that people want to stay in Prince George’s County and remain teaching,” Christy said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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