City schools union leaders go tit for tat on administrators contract
Last week, city administrators voted to approve a new union contract much like the landmark pact signed by the Baltimore Teachers Union last fall.
The Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association ratified its contract after 150 of its 600 members voted to approve the deal, which includes a 2 percent retroactive pay raise and $1,800 stipend. The deal eliminates annual step increases — raises based on seniority and academic degrees — and implements a new career ladder. It also offers an incentive of $5,000 to $10,000 to administrators who choose to work in the neediest schools.
All members represented by the union would be placed on new career pathways, which have multiple pay intervals.Principals will be able to acquire "leadership units," based on professional development and leadership endeavors, for movement through the pathways. The top of the pay scale for distinguished principals is about $160,000.
Several panels, including a Joint Oversight Panel, will oversee the implementation of the contract, The details on how to climb the career ladder, etc., is said to be due by "early 2012." It costs the district about $7 million, $400,000 more than the previous three-year-contract.
The new contract is starkly familiar--it's essentially the BTU contract tailored to principals and administrators--and the fact that it passed without as much drama as the BTU negotiating team had to endure didn't go unnoticed.
There were some serious digs flying when I called BTU president Marietta English for comment on the principals contract. As I read the highlights of the contract, English half-joked that the administrators union should pay the BTU for negotiating its contract.
"They didn't have anything they wanted to do differently? Anything they wanted to do better?" she asked, adding that it was compliment that administrators "wanted to emulate us."
Jimmy Gittings, president of PSASA, didn't deny that he used the BTU contract as a template saying it was a "a damn good contract." But, he said that the only difference was that "the negotiation team would not sacrifice any of its members in the central office for the financial gain of other members."(I'm figuring out what exactly that means)
Gittings later said of English's comments: "It is very important that everyone understands that not only myself, but everyone in the administrators union have the highest respect for teachers of the Baltimore city school system, and everything that they're doing.”
So, for those who asked today whether the comments in the story from English and Gittings were aimed at each another, the answer is yes. But, that happens.