Council approves teachers contract
With minimal discussion and a unanimous vote, the D.C. Council ended the saga of the teachers contract Tuesday afternoon. Teachers will get a 21.6 percent raise and a chance for more through a new performance pay plan. Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee gets to use performance, rather than seniority, in some personnel decisions. After fiscal certification of the deal by District CFO Natwar M. Gandhi in May and ratification by the rank and file earlier this month, council approval was all but assured.
While there were no dissenting votes, some council members expressed concern about the failure of the contract to award raises to teachers who retired during the more than two years of off-again, on-again negotiations.
"Frankly, the logic around this glaring inconsistency escapes me," said Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray. Union and District officials said they wanted to target money where it would have the most benefit for current teachers and students. Still, the 266 teachers laid off in October will receive about 11 percent in retroactive pay.
Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At-Large) said final approval did not resolve lingering mistrust between teachers and Rhee over the basis for layoffs. The union has gone to court to challenge the job reductions, which she said were driven by a budget crunch.
"Just because there is a contract that's been signed doesn't mean there is new license to treat our teachers without dignity or respect," Brown said. "It doesn't mean all the wounds have been healed."
See Washington teachers' Union president George Parker's statement on council action here.
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