The Pittsburgh Public School District and its teachers union are hailing a new contract as "historic" because of its length and and because it includes bonuses based on student performance. The contract agreement was reached last week and approved yesterday by the Board of Education and members of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers. The deal is built around an "Empowering Effective Teachers plan" drafted by the the district and union leadership last year. District Superintendent Mark Roosevelt says the plan changes the way the District hires, supports, compensates and evaluates teachers.
“This agreement discredits the belief that school districts and teacher unions can’t work together around education reform. Our teachers have strongly affirmed the direction the PFT leadership has taken. They have chosen to lead the transformation of public education across the country.”
Union President John Tarka says one of the provisions, known as Voluntary Incentive Earning at Work (VIEW), enables teachers at the top of the salary schedule to earn bonuses of $8,000 annually.
Teachers who opt into the pilot relinquish their rights to negotiated increments at the top of the salary schedule.
Other contract provisions:
--District schools that fall within the top 15% of Pennsylvania schools for growth as verified annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Education will receive a team bonus of $6,000.
--All teachers at the top step of the salary schedule will be eligible to receive a $1,000 bonus in each year of the contract that the District achieves the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standard.
--After School Enrichment Periods will provide opportunities for effective teachers to teach one additional class at $3,500 or two at $7,000 added to their base salary.
The contract additionally includes provisions where every employee covered under the agreement receives annual wage increases.
The five year contract is the longest ever between the district and its teachers.