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At odds with union on new evaluation


Staff writer

Calvert County public school teachers will be receiving some type of salary increase for the 2013-2014 school year, though the amount has yet to be determined.

Though salary was not discussed at Tuesday’s negotiations between the teachers union — the Calvert Education Association — and the Calvert County Board of Education’s negotiating team, the board’s initial teacher salary proposal included a 0.25 percent cost of living salary adjustment, or COLA, for teachers.

The teachers have not received a COLA for the past two years.

“They will be receiving some type of increase. We will never go below [0.25 percent],” Calvert County Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Robin Welsh, the board’s chief negotiator, said via phone of the upcoming school year.

The board’s team also proposed that teachers receive no step increases and a one-time stipend on 0.25 percent of their salary.

The CEA proposed that the teachers receive a 5.5 percent COLA, two step increases and a second base salary increase of 3.5 percent for teachers who are ineligible to receive steps.

The two sides have yet to discuss salary but did exchange proposals with those initial requests.

At Tuesday’s negotiations, both sides discussed the new teacher evaluation system, which, as part of the federal Race to the Top Act, will make about 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation based on student achievement. The evaluation will go into effect during the 2014-2015 school year.

At Tuesday’s negotiations, the union proposed that the evaluation be formally negotiated between the two sides, which the board’s team said they would not do.

Welsh explained via phone that the board had been working closely with the teachers to come to an agreement regarding the evaluation model, but did not want to enter into formal negotiations since there were too many unknowns at this point.

Welsh also said the union violated negotiation policies by not including that request in its initial proposal on the evaluation.

She said if the two sides could not agree on an evaluation model, CCPS would have to defer to the state model, which she said is still being determined.

“We don’t 100 percent know what we’re going to come up with,” Welsh said, continuing that when it comes to implementing the new evaluation model, teachers “are part of every piece of it.”

CEA President Debbie Russ said that while teachers have been included in the model’s development meetings, many members of her union remain confused about the evaluation’s implementation.

“It’s not an itty bitty thing. ... This has not been easy,” Russ said.

Russ said CEA Chief Negotiator Joseph Sella was planning to seek Maryland State Department of Education legal council on the matter, which she said would most likely not be discussed in the next few negotiation sessions.

“We’re going to put that on the back burner until both sides have more information,” Russ said.

At Tuesday’s negotiations, both sides did sign off on an item stating that all teachers must receive an email every time a new position within the school system is posted on the CCPS website.