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After two years of going without, Calvert County Public School teachers will all be seeing their salaries increased for the 2013-2014 school year.

After a day of negotiating that went into the evening, the Calvert Education Association — the union representing CCPS teachers — signed a new three-year teacher contract with the Calvert County Board of Education’s negotiating team.

The new salary article, which will be reopened for the next two fiscal years, includes repositioning teachers on a new salary scale in which they will reach their highest salary on step 26 rather than step 28 as is currently the case.

After this repositioning, all of the teachers will then receive one additional step increase. They will then receive a 1 percent cost of living salary adjustment, or COLA. Teachers who are currently at step 28 and, therefore, no longer eligible for the additional step will receive a pensionable salary adjustment of 1 percent.

“After not having money for two years for pensionable purposes, this should be a big deal,” CEA President Debbie Russ said of the contract, which teachers started voting to ratify Wednesday.

Huntingtown High School teacher Grace Hanners voted at Calvert High School on Wednesday afternoon. She said she anticipated the new salary changes would increase her salary by a couple thousand dollars.

“I’m really glad that we’re finally getting a salary increase. I’m glad they were able to negotiate that for us,” Hanners said, continuing that, nonetheless, it was hard to undo the effect of not having steps or a COLA for the last few years.

“We never get to catch up on the steps that we lost, but I’m glad we’re at least moving in the right direction,” Hanners said.

Calvert County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith had been scheduled to present his 2014 fiscal year budget Thursday evening, but the presentation was canceled due to the snow that closed schools that day. A rescheduled date was not announced by time of press.

In the contract, teachers were also able to keep their current language in the sick leave article. This language states that the superintendent or designee may be able to ask a teacher for a doctor’s note if there is “reasonable cause” to believe the teacher missed work without having an actual illness. The board’s team had initially wanted to change the language, removing the “reasonable cause” statement and stating that an immediate supervisor could ask for this note.

Russ said she was glad the teachers could keep this language as is “because it worked.”

The board’s team had been holding open negotiations with the CEA since November 2012.

“I’m glad it’s done,” Russ said.



ldukes@somdnews.com