Teachers Union and OKCPS complete contract, increase teacher’s pay
OKLAHOMA CITY – The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Oklahoma City Public School District on Monday evening announced completion of a new contract and the start of an ongoing partnership focused on improved student performance.
The Board of Education approved the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after it was ratified by district teachers late last week.
The new contract includes several changes designed to make the district more competitive in attracting new teachers, retaining experienced teachers and utilizing high-performing teachers to mentor those new to the profession as well as teachers in struggling schools.
In addition to the CBA, AFT President Ed Allen and Interim Superintendent Dave Lopez signed two memoranda of understanding (MOU) to establish a continuous dialogue on a variety of innovations aimed at increasing student performance through specific actions to support teachers.
“It is absolutely clear that our district will not make dramatic improvement without conducting our business in dramatically different ways,” said Allen. “Our union has been ready to have these discussions for some time so we’re ready to work collaboratively to get things done.”
Lopez agreed with Allen that the labor-management partnership can assist both teachers and students.
“The work done by the district negotiating team led by Chief Financial Officer Scott Randall propels us to a new day of collaboration with our teachers,” said Lopez. “The contract itself has several innovations and I’m eager to work with Ed on other initiatives that we believe can accelerate improvements in student performance.”
Highlights of the new contract include:
• An average increase in pay of 2.09% (or $828) for teachers;
• Creation of a new salary grade with increased pay of $600 for the district’s most experienced teachers;
Effective July 1, 2014:
• Increases of $225 to $725 for newer teachers in their first through fifth year of service in the profession;
• Expansion of a Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program which initially provides for at least 25 teachers to be advisors for new teachers and for experienced teachers in struggling schools; and,
• A first-time retention bonus of $200 for OKC teachers with 11 or more years of experience who renew their individual contracts by the end of the current school year.
One MOU (attached) agreed to by AFT and the district targets savings that can be found in extracurricular pay for teachers will be “directed to the benefit of teachers and students.” The district on its own also may also choose to direct savings in other areas, such as administration and operations, for the same purpose.
The second MOU (attached) specifies seven areas of further negotiations.
Those areas include formal research to be conducted of key constituencies so collected data can inform decision making, innovative compensation including career ladders and pay for performance and identification of performance by vendors to gauge the success of individual programs.
Other areas of discussion will include safety in schools, incentives for teachers, reviewing the planning and instructional time for teachers and early identification of specific schools that need additional assistance.