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Teacher Career Pathway Negotiations

July 1, 2024

BTU last met with the BCPSS Board’s representatives on June 20th. The BTU presented our last, best and final offer on compensation. A few days later, the Board sent their last, best and final offer on compensation and the career pathway. Since there are still many areas where the Board and BTU do not see eye to eye on these two areas, the BTU filed for impasse. The request to proceed to impasse was approved by the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB). We are in the process of selecting a mediator to oversee the impasse process. We will provide more updates when they are available. 

The decision to go to impasse on the career pathway was spurred on by the district’s continued insistence that NBC teachers must complete additional, un-named duties in order to receive the $10k incentive. The BTU is not willing to agree to this. If we agreed to this, we would be the only district in the state to have a requirement remotely like this and it would make us much less competitive with recruiting/retaining the teachers who have earned an NBC. We have a host of other disagreements, but the extra duties is a huge one for the career pathway. 

May 29, 2024

BTU last met with the BCPSS Board’s representatives on May 29th. The Board’s representatives responded to our compensation proposal. We are working to get the district to agree to:

*higher all across the board raises
*a higher cash payout amount for AUs
*an increased pay differential for 12 month employees
*a higher salary adjustment for Master’s degrees
*a higher stipend rate
*a stipend rate for translation services

May 15, 2024

BTU last met with the BCPSS Board’s representatives on May 15th. We gave the district our “last best final offer” on the Teacher Career Pathway structure and are awaiting the district’s response. We also gave the district a compensation proposal for school year 2024-2025 and 2025-2026. We are awaiting the district’s response to the compensation proposal.

May 1, 2024

BTU last met with the BCPSS Board’s representatives on May 1. The district presented BTU with a counter proposal that has several components that is in conflict with BTU’s last counter proposal. So, also on May 1, the BTU presented a counter to the Board’s May 1 counter. Here is a chart to better understand where the Board and BTU differ:

BTU Wants… BCPSS Wants…
anyone with a rating higher than Ineffective/Unsatisfactory to move an interval. anyone with a rating of Effective, Highly Effective, Proficient, Satisfactory, or a non-tenured member rated Developing to move an interval. Tenured members rated Developing and all members (tenured or not) rated Ineffective or Unsatisfactory would not move.
members to be compensated for having a masters degree. no compensation for having a masters degree.
members who acquire a NBC to be paid the $10,000 without any additional responsibilities. members who acquire an NBC to have to complete additional responsibilities to receive the $10,000.
to keep the Joint Governing Panel (JGP), which is the group of full-time staff whose job it is to manage the pathways and provide member support to help people move along the pathways. to end the JGP and form an ad hoc committee of volunteers who will oversee the development of future career pathways.

April 3, 2024

BTU met with the Board’s representatives, whom are several district leaders, on April 3, 2024. The Board’s representatives still did not communicate what they have against AUs but they did give a proposal that outlined how district leadership proposes to compensate activities currently compensated by AUs. The district proposes to shift from using AUs to payment in the form of stipends and in some instances, additional pensionable income. The BTU urges the district to avoid any stipend based compensation; we prefer pensionable income that increases our lifetime earnings; temporary, one time pay increases are not enough for the critical work BTU members continue to do in addition to teaching and providing student related services. 

Additionally, the Board’s representatives propose that people that acquire their National Board Certification (NBC) have to also take on a leadership role like mentoring in order to get the additional $10,000. The BTU takes the position that the law does not require people to have to take on any additional responsibilities once they have their NBC in order to get the additional $10,000. BCPSS should not require additional duties. Once you acquire the NBC, you should receive $10,000. We are already overworked and underpaid. We need our pay to increase for work we are already doing. We don’t need any additional duties!

BTU will urge the district to consider moving closer to BTU’s proposal which includes:

  • a form of automatic interval movement each year
  • recognition of Masters degrees 
  • 1% longevities related to evaluation and recertification/license renewal 
  • the continuation of the Joint Governing Panel (JGP) 
  • additional $10,000 for acquiring National Board Certification; no additional duties required to get the $10,000

BTU and the Board’s representatives meet again on April 16, 2024. We will keep you posted on any new developments.

March 20, 2024 

BTU met with the district on March 20, 2024. The district gave us what they considered a more comprehensive proposal. It was very similar to past proposals we described (no AUs and having to take on leadership roles to accelerate pay) plus this time the district’s proposal attempted to be more explicit about how the pay structure they are proposing aligns with the Blueprint for MDs Future mandates. 

BTU met with the district on March 20, 2024. The district gave us what they considered a more comprehensive proposal. It was very similar to past proposals we described (no AUs and having to take on leadership roles to accelerate pay) plus this time the district’s proposal attempted to be more explicit about how the pay structure they are proposing aligns with the Blueprint for MDs Future mandates. 

BTU presented a presentation to the district that broke down the rationale behind components of our proposal. We used data to show how many students and staff are impacted by AU offerings. We expounded on what educational leadership can look like to challenge the district on their limited view of educational leadership; we stressed that leadership does not have to equate to leaving the classroom at all. We also left the district with a lingering question which they plan to answer at our next session on April 3, 2024. The question has 2 parts:

1. What issues do the district have with AUs? Why do they want to stop using them?

2. If we don’t keep AUs to manage the complex professional learning and student out of school activities, how will the district ensure that all these very important and impactful activities take place?

We will keep you posted on how the district responds to our questions.

March 11, 2024

We met with the district on March 6, 2024. The district gave BTU the same proposal it gave us months ago, but this time they put it in proposal format versus a PowerPoint presentation.

Unfortunately, the district’s proposal did not include Achievement Units or any processes for accelerated movement. Instead, the district presented BTU with several half-baked ideas about potential “teacher leadership” roles that could possibly lead to more pay for staff in those roles. The district could not explain how many of these roles would be available, how they would fund the roles, and the roles seemed to be only assigned based on principal/supervisor discretion. The district’s negotiations team wanted the BTU’s negotiations team to help them fill in all of the blanks. We will not do that because we are fundamentally against staff having to take on leadership roles to get paid more. We should get paid more for what we already do, which is providing instruction and student services.

BTU will continue to fight for automatic movement, accelerated movement, and less hoops to jump through for increased pay. Since the district and the BTU are so far away from an agreement on our new pay structure, BTU is ready to go to impasse. However, we were willing to give the district two weeks to come up with a more comprehensive proposal for us to consider. Stay tuned!

February 26, 2024

Teacher Career Pathway Update: We recently met with the district on February 21. We presented our proposal to the district leadership team that represents the Board. At our next session, we expect a counterproposal or engagement from the Board’s team on our proposal. We meet again on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

On Wednesday, October 25th district leadership voted to decertify the compensation system tied to AUs/pathways for the 2024-2025 school year. The district’s action’s were somewhat foreshadowed by this Baltimore Banner article, which mischaracterized some essential details and was missing important context (read BTU’s response here). The district’s action to decertify our pay structure is chaotic and disorganized, as they do not yet have a clear plan for next steps, they have not meaningfully collaborated with the BTU, nor have they received clear guidance from the State on the new legal requirements for a career ladder option.
Importantly, this “decertification” does not affect our current school year’s negotiations or the formal impasse proceedings that are taking place to determine this year’s pay raise, along with many other important items.
Our contract language states that when decertification takes place “the then existing pay scale shall be converted into a traditional salary scale based upon steps and lanes with no loss of salary or benefits.” A traditional structure pays teachers according to their certification, education, and years of experience, typically with step increases each year. The steps of a traditional system are somewhat equivalent to our intervals, and the lanes of a traditional system are somewhat equivalent to our pathways.
District leadership took this action to center their own version of a not fully developed Kirwan-aligned career ladder – BCPSS does not want a traditional structure. The landmark Kirwan legislation (aka Blueprint for Maryland’s Future) requires all school systems to create a career ladder by 2024-2025 that has various leadership opportunities and increased compensation in association with possessing a National Board Certification. This must be collectively bargained. However, while district leaders have not acknowledged this, there is no prohibition on offering other salary compensation structures, such as including our existing AU/pathway structure along with a traditional steps and lanes structure.
City Schools leaders are trying to rush their plans so that they don’t need to compete with other districts. BTU continues to push City Schools to remain focused on improving teacher pay this year, as our compensation for early career and veteran teachers has fallen drastically behind neighboring counties. The 2024-2025 plan City Schools leaders are discussing with the media is premature. Their promotion of this incomplete plan comes:
  • Before BCPSS has made a commitment to teacher pay for the current school year
  • Before BCPSS has offered BTU any proposed contract language on career ladders
  • Before the State has offered promised guidance on Kirwan-aligned career ladders 
  • Before any other Maryland school system has finalized next year’s pay structures
The district’s actions create many complications and there is much more information to share. In the coming month, BTU leaders are offering many opportunities to learn more and to provide feedback, both in-person and virtually. Our demands regarding a new pay structure will come from the membership, as we work to correct historic inequities in our current system. Our current salaries offer far too little to early career and veteran teachers, and the ability to move throughout our pathways has too many hoops to jump through.
BTU discussed this situation with BTU Teacher Building Reps for over an hour last night at our monthly BR meeting, and we strongly encourage you to meet as a staff to discuss this situation. BTU’s power is in the collective strength of each school and worksite, and there will be many upcoming opportunities to take part in collective action.