City School District Teachers Ratify Landmark Union Contract

     Published on 6/12/15   Tagged under:    District News   

The net additional cost under this tentative agreement is approximately $16 million over five years.

Over the next five years, teachers in the Syracuse City School District will receive five consecutive pay increases.

“Our teachers have some of the most demanding jobs in our community, and they are deserving of the best compensation package we can provide them. From the onset of negotiations, our goal was to create a salary structure that made our teachers the highest paid in the region,” said Syracuse City School Superintendent Sharon Contreras. “It was also important that we address the national issue of new teacher retention by offering competitive starting salaries,” she added.

Under the agreement, the traditional 19 column salary schedule is being replaced by a more progressive salary schedule. Over five years, the average teacher salary will increase by more than $12,500 and by 2019, more than 800 teachers will earn a base salary of at least $75,000 per year. The starting salary for teachers will immediately increase from $42,050 to $47,500. Our current first- year teachers will see their salary increase by a third over the next five years, ensuring that great teachers can build a career in the Syracuse City School District. At the same time, the most veteran teachers – those with 25 years or more experience – will see their base salaries increase by nearly $12,000. The new contract also creates opportunities for teachers to earn even more and expand their impact by taking on teacher leadership roles.

Compared to today’s salaries in all other Onondaga County districts, SCSD’s 2018-2019 salaries will be among the highest in the County.

A number of across the board changes have been made to the health insurance plan, resulting in significant cost savings. One significant change is that new teacher health insurance will be based on a high-deductible plan more than offset by the more than $5,000 increase in starting salary. Existing teachers will have the choice if they wish to opt-in to the high-deductible health plan. Retirees will be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan which will also result in significant cost savings, while the retirees will experience virtually no change in their current benefits. Additionally, there are higher co-pays for all teachers. “We are pleased that the District is able to continue to provide top-tier benefits to employees and retirees while reducing overall health care costs, saving jobs and allowing the District to put more funding toward teaching and learning in the long run,” said Contreras.

A greater emphasis will be placed on professional development for teachers. New teacher training will increase from 30 to 60 hours before entering the classroom. This will be included as part of the total 160 hours of professional development training provided during their first full year of employment in the District. Also included is the one-on-one support provided to new teachers by veteran educators through the collaborative Peer Assistance and Review program.

The cumulative investment in teacher salaries over the next 5 years will allow the District to recruit and retain the best teachers in Central New York.

“This significantly raises the starting salary for teachers to attract the best talent right from the start, and provides for increases across the board, which will make teacher salaries competitive with other school districts. For every great teacher out there who wants to make a difference in Syracuse, who is committed to changing students' lives through their work, we've created a compensation system that will allow them to make a career right here,” said Contreras.