St. Mary's School System Reaches Agreement with Teacher's Unions - Southern Maryland Headline News

St. Mary's School System Reaches Agreement with Teacher's Unions

Parties had to return to bargaining table due to budget shortfall

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (June 9, 2016)—On May 2, a tentative three-year agreement was reached between the Board of Education's negotiating team, the Education Association of St. Mary's County (EASMC), and the Collective Education Association of St. Mary's County (CEASMC). Upon final budget approval, funding was insufficient to support the tentative agreement that had been ratified by both EASMC and CEASMC.

As required by Maryland law and the existing negotiated agreements, the parties returned to the bargaining table to pursue an agreement based on available funding. On June 8, 2016, a re-negotiated four-year tentative agreement was reached. The agreement provides for the following.

• Annual salary improvement for all bargaining unit employees.

• Compressed and restructured salary scales that eliminate unfunded "frozen" steps.

• Placement on the improved salary scales in year one, then annual step progression on the enhanced scales for each of years two, three, and four.

• A 2% salary scale adjustment in year four.

• Restructuring of the health insurance plans with the addition of a new more economical option.

• Extension of the new contract language through June 2020 with no openers.

Mr. J. Scott Smith, superintendent of schools, commented, "This has been quite a process and it is a testament to the dedication of all the people around the negotiation's table. Their goal to secure a competitive, fair pay scale for our teachers and support staff, while balancing benefits to meet employees' needs, was always at the center. In uncertain times, knowing what you will earn for the next four years is reassuring and something people who work closely with our children deserve."

Ms. Liz Purcell Leskinen, EASMC and CEASMC Chief Negotiator, stated, "We invested over six months to reach a tentative agreement that respected the contributions of SMCPS employees, and we are extremely disappointed that it was not funded by the county officials. An investment in the people who live in our community and make sure that our children are on the right path is the most prudent, fiscally responsible investment that the Board of County Commissioners can make this year and beyond."

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