The salary negotiations involve two different appendices of the Tewksbury Teachers Association’s (TTA) contract. Appendix A lays out the Steps and Lanes for the teacher’s salary. Teachers move up a step every year and receive a raise for each step increase. Salary amounts also increase every year.
For example, let say you had a Step 1 salary of $1,000, a yearly step increase of 2% and a yearly raise of 3%. In Year 2 your Step 2 would give you $1,020, and then your yearly raise would bring that salary up to $1050.60. Your raise would total 5% for the year. Lanes denote the level of education a teacher has achieved; the more education, the higher the pay rate.
Appendix B is a breakdown of stipends for extra roles staff take on, for example coaching, running a club, mentoring, head teacher or the Professional Learning Communities we discussed in our breakdown of the recently released negotiation documents.
The TTA made the first salary proposal, asking for a 3.5% salary increase every year for the next 3 school years (2021, 2022, 2023). They also proposed a 2.3% yearly step increase across the board. This would result in a 5.8% yearly raise. The TTA would like to add Steps 11,12 and 13; currently the highest step is 10. What this means is that once teachers hit the tenth step, they stop getting step increases and only receive the regular salary increase. So, in your eleventh year, under the TTA’s proposed percentage increases, you would get a 3.5% increase, not the 5.8% you would get with additional steps.
Author’s note: An analysis of current step increases shows they are not all increased at the same percentage.
Included in the proposal was an average salary comparison of 10 nearby towns. Tewksbury ranked ninth.
The first Tewksbury School Committee (TSC) counteroffer was to keep the Steps and Lanes as they were in 2020-2021 and to increase the salary amount by 1%. Raises would be 1% plus the step increase for that year, up to step 10.
In May, the TTA countered with an offer to accept only 12 Steps, instead of the original 13 requested, and dropped their yearly increase ask to 3%. TSC also had a counter offer in May. They still wanted to keep all Steps and Lanes the same but offered a 1.75% salary increase. Again, this would be the 1.75% plus the step increase, up to Step 10.
In the next communication, the TTA indicated they were holding on their last salary request.
On June 1, the TTA adjusted their salary request, asking for a 2.5% increase for the 2021 and 2022 school years and a 3% increase for 2023. They would still like to add 2 Steps to the salary table. On June 15, the two sides moved a bit closer: The TSC still maintained they want to keep the Steps and Lanes as they were in 2020 but agreed to a 2.25% increase for 2021, 2022 and 2023. That amount is in line with the 2.25% raises negotiated with other town unions, including firefighter and police.
Editor’s note: This article originally said police and fire COLA raises were 2.5%. That’s only partially correct. The basic salary raise was 2.25%; longevity for 10 years and longer increased that by .25% to 2.5%.
In August, the TTA came back with a new proposal, that in the 2022 school year an eleventh step would be added, and in 2023, a twelfth step. No adjustments are made to the previous TSC 2.25% salary increase offer.
September shows a change in the TTA’s proposal. They are no longer asking for new steps but instead have asked, for the 2022-2023 school year, an additional $1,000 for Step 8, $2,000 for Step 9 and $3,000 for Step 10. They ask in the 2023-2024 school year that the same amounts be added again to the same steps. This would mean someone moving up Step 8, 9 or 10 would get the 2.25% raise, the Step percentage raise and the additional monies requested for their Step. The TSC countered with an offer to add $150 to step 8, $300 to step 9 and $450 to step 10. This would work the same: Anyone moving to a Step 8, 9 or 10 would get their 2.25% raise, their Step percentage raise plus the additional money offered by the TSC for that step.
This is the last offer before mediation begins. Here is a spreadsheet that details the later salary proposals.
All the information was taken from this attachment shared by the TSC.
In the first TTA proposal, in February 2021, they asked for all Tier 1 coaching stipends to be increased to $5,883, except varsity football, which would stay at $9,982. This would ultimately affect eight positions for an increase of $17,789. All Tier 2 coaching stipends would be raised to $3,648, affecting 18 positions for a cost of $7,801.
This also included the ask for a new position. The ask for tier 3 coaching positions was $2,458, which would affect 2 positions, and would be an increase of $3,275.
The next schedule of stipends addressed are for positions like mentors, lead teacher, case managers, ELL, PLC, etc. They asked for no change to Tier 1, an increase to $3,685 for two positions. Tier 3 would be raised to $2,961, affecting four positions. A change from $609 to $1,480 is asked for mentors. It is unclear how many people currently hold these positions.
The last ask for this schedule is an increase to the teacher hourly rate. This rate affects positions like tutors, substitutes and part-time staff. The current rate is $33.01, and the TTA asked for an increase to $50, a 51% increase.
The last compensation schedule addressed here is for stipends for after-school activities, for example, drama, yearbook, robotics, band, math teams and class advisers. The TTA asked for the Tier 1 rate to increase to $6,946; this would affect one position, for an increase of $4,630, but another day was added on to this position.
Tier 2 would raise to $4,915, affecting 15 positions. Assuming one person holds each position, this is an increase of $35,859, affecting 15 people. Two of the positions in this Tier were newly added.
Finally, we have Tier 3. The ask is for $2,576; again assuming one person in each position, that would increase 27 stipend positions, for a cost of $23,256. Again, two of these positions were newly created. If one person was working in each affected position, the total cost would be $97,578. Another stipulation in this proposal is that every position would also receive a percentage increase for each year of the contract equal to the regular salary increase.
The TSC countered this proposal with the offer to add two of the requested new positions at a cost of $3,274 and offered to raise the stipend for seven of the existing positions. Assuming one person in each adjusted position, this is a total cost increase of $6,820. A counter of $34 for the teacher hourly rate was made; this is a 3% increase.
The TTA replied that they were holding to their original proposal.
TSC’s next offer held on their previous stipend offer but added language that would create a joint committee made up of two representatives designated by the TTA and two by the TSC. This committee would meet regularly to study the Appendix B positions. It would consider if stipends are equitable relative to one another and consider reorganizations and the equitable reallocation of stipend amounts among positions.
The TTA accepted some of the new language, requesting only that the committee meet monthly and that no member of the committee would be allowed to participate in the next round of contract negotiations. They adjusted their requested teacher hourly rate to $43, a 30% increase; held steady on their Appendix Tier 1 and Tier 2 stipend requests; and asked that any Appendix A regular salary percentage increases also apply to these stipends.
The TTA also had the next proposal. This one adds two stipend positions onto the two previously offered by the TSC. The total cost of the four positions would be $13,104. They also countered with an increase in stipends for seven more positions than the TSC offer of seven, for new spending of $22,256. They are still requesting that all Appendix B positions receive the same percentage increase as Appendix A.
At this point, it would appear the TTA has compromised on their request to have increases on the majority of Appendix B positions and are negotiating for raises for specific positions only.
The TSC opts to not add in the two additional stipend positions, holding at their previous offer of two new positions. They also removed two positions the TTA requested. This would be an adjustment of 12 positions. Their new spending for this offer is $9,070. They also accept the monthly meeting for the committee but remove the language about not participating in the next round of negotiations. They hold at the $34 teacher rate.
The last TTA counter adds back one stipend position but asks for a slight increase in the amounts, for a total cost of $13,780. They also slightly lowered their teacher hourly rate to $40, a 21% increase over the current rate.
The TSC holds at their last offer. Both parties now enter mediation.
To summarize, the TTA started out asking for $97, 578 in new Appendix B new spending. Their final proposal was $13,780.
The final TSC offer for new spending is $9,070. The final teacher hourly rate proposal by the TTA is $40, and TSC is holding at $34.