New contract to address teacher salaries

Becca Green, Features Editor

The Washington Teacher’s Union (WTU) and DCPS reached an agreement on December 13 about a new contract. The contract outlines a 12 percent salary increase and retention bonus for teachers, social workers, and other DCPS employees. 

The retention bonus will “probably be a one-time payment that’s all the money we should have received over [the] four years [the contract was being debated],” Social Studies teacher Aaron Besser said. 

Teacher contracts are typically renewed every four years, but because of Covid, the last time the contract was updated was October 2016. While the 2016 contract expired in 2019, no new contract was created and teachers have been operating on the same outdated contract created in 2016, without any changes.

“Because of the pandemic, we negotiated something called a memorandum of understanding, which is like an extension of the contract,” said Michele Bollinger, social studies teacher and Jackson-Reed’s building representative at the WTU. 

However, in December 2022, a tentative agreement for an updated contract was approved. “I think that some teachers are going to be encouraged to stay because they’re going to be happy about the pay increase. I’m excited to get a decent raise,” Besser said. 

While teachers are excited about the pay increase, there are still issues that the contract does not address, such as the IMPACT teacher evaluation system and class sizes. 

“The evaluation system is proven by American University to discriminate racially, and that to be honest creates an anxious and stressful workplace, and is such a detriment to teaching,” Bollinger said.

Despite contracts typically lasting four years, the new contract is set to renew at the end of 2023. The most recent agreement is acting as the contract for the four year period from 2019 until now. “If none of those other systematic changes come up in the next contract, like the evaluation system, and the class sizes and other things, I don’t think long term it’s going to have a big effect,” Besser said. •