New agreement contains key improvements ensuring educators have more sustainable workloads, incentives for professional development
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY – An overwhelming majority of members of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association voted to ratify a new 3-year contract with the Prince George’s County Public Schools. Ratified with a remarkable 99% of voting members in support, the agreement takes major steps forward on addressing challenges stemming from the pandemic as well as the current educator staffing crisis. The new agreement includes increased lesson planning time and funds for school supplies that will help educators deliver lessons tailored to individual student needs.
Educators see the agreement as a way to improve student learning, improve teacher retention by addressing unsustainable working conditions, and provide for the social-emotional needs of students in this phase of the pandemic and beyond.
“Securing the tools and resources we need to bolster our students’ success has been the primary focus for Prince George’s County educators, and this agreement lays the foundation to help us move our school communities from pandemic to promise and deliver a world-class education to all PGCPS students,” said PGCEA president Dr. Donna Christy.
“This agreement is an important step toward building our vision for our students. It reflects the creative thinking and innovation that our members bring to their schools every day,” she added.
The historic contract between the educators and the second-largest school district in Maryland will cover PGCEA’s 10,000 members including educators, paraprofessionals, school nurses and counselors.
The new agreement secured numerous wins that will strengthen the quality of education in Prince George’s County classrooms. It also aims to recruit and retain talented educators.
Highlights of the agreement include:
- Increased Planning Time – Educators will have more time available to them to plan engaging, comprehensive lessons for students. This will accelerate educator efforts to support every student’s success in closing the pandemic learning gap.
- Planning Time Improvements – Planning time will be more focused with fewer other responsibilities during this time, and collaborative planning requirements were clarified. This will support educator retention by creating time to do lesson planning during the work day.
- Increased Pay for Certifications – Qualifying National Board-Certified Teachers will receive an extra $13K yearly in pay, and educators with other qualifying national certifications will receive an extra $4K. This creates incentives that will increase the number of qualified educators that will deliver the world class education PGCPS students deserve.
- Funds for Classroom Supplies – Educators will have $100 per year to pay for classroom supplies. During historic inflation, this recognition of costs that have often come out of dedicated teachers’ own pockets will also help ease their burden.
- Tuition Reimbursement Increase – The funds available for educators to receive tuition reimbursements will double, seeing a $139 increase for up to $550 per credit, meaning that there will be less of a financial burden on educators seeking out further education and certifications.
- Substitute Pay Improvements – Pay for substitute teachers will increase from $18 to $30 an hour, increasing to $32 in the second year of the contract and $34 in the third. Competition in the local market for substitutes is intense, and this increase will go a long way towards filling hundreds of open positions that will ease the teacher shortage.
- Longer Contracts for Counselors & Pupil Personnel Workers – School Counselors and Pupil Personnel Workers will now have 11-month contracts, making it feasible for them to keep only one job. This consistency for PGCPS students will increase their ability to navigate social emotional challenges.