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JCTA members to vote this week on contract that includes 5% raise

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio announced a tentative new union contract with JCTA president Brent McKim Friday.
JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio announced a tentative new union contract with JCTA president Brent McKim Friday.

Members of the Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) will vote this week on a contract extension that would boost pay by 5%.

The union’s 5,800 members have until Friday evening to weigh in on the three-year extension. If a majority of voting members approve the agreement, the contract will go to the Jefferson County Board of Education for final consideration later this month.

The contract would provide the second pay increase for JCTA members in as many years. In June, the school board approved a 4% pay increase for all Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) employees.

JCTA President Brent McKim told WFPL News he believes the pay raises will help the district address an increasingly difficult teacher shortage.

“We think that should be very helpful for recruiting … and also helpful for retaining,” McKim said.

The current average teacher salary in JCPS is roughly $68,000 a year. Next year’s raise would accompany employees’ “step” increases, or bumps in pay employees receive based on how many years they’ve worked for the district. That would bring average teacher pay to about $71,000.

In addition to pay increases, McKim said the proposed agreement attempts to address working conditions for teachers and other staff JCTA represents, including mental health practitioners, physical and occupational therapists, librarians, and speech clinicians.

The agreement would allow staff to take sick time in half-day increments, which McKim said would make it easier for teachers to schedule things like doctors appointments without having to find a substitute teacher for an entire day.

That would benefit teachers, McKim said, and expand the pool of substitutes to people who can only work half-days.

“All of that would be good for kids because it would be fewer situations where teachers aren’t able to plan quality lessons because they're covering for their colleagues,” McKim said.

Here are some other highlights from the proposed contract:

  • Language committing the district to reduce digital documentation that exceeds that which is mandated by law
  • New protections against harassment and hate speech
  • New “Collaborative Leadership Teams” at each school site in which JCTA members and management can discuss school policies, working conditions and other decisions
  • A memorandum of understanding that the district and JCTA work toward future agreements on other “issues of interest,” “including but not limited to” issues identified by special education teachers, early childhood teachers, teachers of color, English as a Second Language teachers, mental health practitioners, teachers in state agencies and special area teachers

The changes to the contract would take effect July 1, 2023 and remain through June 30, 2026.

Members will vote electronically. They have until 5 p.m. Friday.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.