I think I may have just cracked the Rosetta Stone of Dade County’s future performance pay salary schedule. A few weeks back I wrote a blog about Miami Dade public school teachers facing a future of 1% pay increases https://kafkateach.wordpress.com/2015/08/14/mdcps-employees-welcome-to-the-one-percent/based on a performance pay schedule presented by the district.
To most people, the alphabetical based pay schedule looked like nothing more than alphabet soup and no one could make any sense out of it. Some were able to do basic math and realized there were now 56 steps to reach the top of the pay schedule, which barring a massive increase in Dade County teacher life expectancy, no one would ever reach the top of the salary schedule again. Then last week the “historic” contract presented an average 2% raise for most employees with only 19 steps to reach the top. Many teachers will receive a raise larger than their step increase was slated to be, but some teachers, especially the misfortunate crew of Les Miserable teachers on step 22 would be receiving half of a $7,000 pay step they had already waited three years to get (insert crying emoticon).
The catch, which no one seems to be paying much attention to (especially UTD stewards) is that the words “step” and “experience” have been crossed out on the contract. So Kafkateach got to wondering how these two pay schedules were related and somehow my bottom of the top 20th percentile SAT math challenged brain may have figured it out.
The district came up with an alphabet based schedule because years of experience would no longer be considered as a basis for pay under the new contract. The union will say this is in order to be compliant with SB736. That is a half-truth at best. SB736 allows for a step schedule based on years of experience that veteran teachers are grandfathered into, and then a separate performance based pay schedule had to be created for new hires. Under the law, veteran teachers could opt into the performance pay schedule but they would have to relinquish professional contract status. By forcing veteran teachers onto a pay for performance schedule which eliminates steps altogether and bases even veteran teachers’ pay off of their evaluations, Dade County and UTD are actually breaking the law (see also http://shawnbeightol.com/blog/2015/08/28/recent-salary-proposal-from-utd-and-mdcps-is-illegal-and-is-set-to-defraud-you-of-your-statutorily-established-step-system/) But that’s how we do it in Dade. We tend to manipulate the law (see also “School of Choice” loophole) and do what is most financially and logistically expedient. But I digress, back to Kafkateach Math 101.
The district basically looked at the top of the pay scale ($70,000) and created a new pay schedule based on what a typical salary negotiation budget might look like at 1%. That explains the largest “salary adjustment” being $700 on the alphabet soup schedule. SB736 mandates that highly effective teachers must be paid more than the highest step, and effective teachers could be paid anywhere from 50-75% of the “salary adjustment” given to highly effective teachers. That explains where the other $400 “salary adjustments” on the alphabet soup schedule came from. So now you have a workable blended performance pay schedule for Dade County teachers based on a 1% budget.
So why the need for 56 steps on the alphabet soup schedule and how does this relate to the current 19 step schedule being voted on by teachers on September 8th? Let’s say in a very good year the state budget allows for a 3% “salary adjustment” rather than 1%. If you multiply 19 x 3 you get 57, which is almost the same as the 56 steps on the alphabet soup schedule. This year there was no need for the district and UTD to present the performance pay schedule in the contract because teachers hired this year will not have evaluations until January of 2017 at the earliest. Next year both new hires and veteran teachers will have their pay based off of their evaluations, so I imagine we will see the alphabet soup schedule reappear then. Which got me to wondering if future “salary adjustments” would be retroactive given the long delay in our evaluations. When I asked UTD if future “salary adjustments” would be retroactive, this was their response.
|“Retroactive salary adjustments are more dependent on the budget then they are on the evaluations. We cannot predict how that will be affected at this time.”
That answer leads me to conclude that this year’s contract is indeed very “historic” because we will never see another contract with retroactive pay again. It saves the district approximately $20,000,000 a year when they delay the contract ratification and give teachers half of what they should have been paid if the contract had gone into effect at the beginning of the school year.
So there you have it folks, Kafkateach’s attempt at solving the Rosetta Stone of Dade County’s future pay for performance schedule and Kafkateach’s attempt at doing basic math early on a Saturday morning. ***FULL DISCLAIMER: I MAY BE TOTALLY WRONG*** Call me a conspiracy theory nut if you like, but conspiracies arise because of the lack of information and truth from people in power. I asked some of the UTD stewards at my school to forward this Q & A with UTD about the contract from another UTD steward to my staff because I found the information to be helpful and neutral in tone. My request was ignored. This leads me to believe there was just a little too much truthiness to these responses. I have posted the Q & A below, feel free to distribute to other confused MDCPS employees as you wish.
- Q: Even though the A0 Salary schedule includes both Grandfather and Performance salary schedules, will there be a distinction in salary adjustments for those that are “Grandfathered” (professional/continuingcontract) and those that are “Performance”(annual contract)?
A: Not this year. A distinction will be made in future negotiations as required by law.
- Q: Is there any monetary incentive for professional/continuing contract teachers to become annual contract teachers?
A: No. This year absolutely not. In the future, the goal is to keep the “salary adjustments” very similar in order to eliminate any real reason to surrender your PSC.
- Q: Will a highly effective teacher on the same step receive more money than an effective teacher?
A: Not this year. A distinction will be made in future negotiations as required by law.
- Q: Will priority for salary adjustment “budgeted” money be given to teachers rated highly effective regardless of their years of service?
A: No. Our plan is to negotiate simultaneously for both. The law says that you cannot disadvantage the Performance Schedule. The plan is
to not disadvantage either schedule.
- Q: “All employees will remain on their current step.” Does this mean employees will never move up a step and that any adjustments to salary
depend on maintaining a highly effective or effective rating?
A: Employees will actually move up a step in the portal. Most employees are getting more $ than the step indicates. A few weeks after the
raise is effective (depending on how long it take to change SAP) all references to steps will be removed from the portal and replaced with
- Q: In a subsequent year, will teachers lose a salary adjustment if they fall from highly effective to effective, or are all salary adjustments
A: No. All salary adjustments are permanent regardless of whether the employee is on grandfathered or performance schedule. This was
one area where SB 736 was slightly improved over SB 6 that Crist vetoed the prior year.
- Q: What is implicated by the “minimum “and “maximum,’ as the scratched out wording indicates that years of experience will no longer be a
factor in determining salary even though the categories “grandfather” and “performance” continue to exist?
A: Min and Max indicate the range of pay that teachers earn. The range is exactly the same at the current lowest step and the new highest
step. As we move forward, salary adjustments may vary based on schedule and performance and therefore employees will not be all paid the same based on their years in the system. Our goal is to limit the variance, but a variance will occur. The minimum and maximum will
also continue to be an issue that is negotiable each year.
- Q: For employees required to wear uniforms, what are the implications for a taxable allowance as opposed to reimbursement that does not
A: This is an IRS Compliance Issue. Instead of receipts going to MDCPS, employees keep the receipts and deduct it from their taxes.
- Q: Does the elimination of the word “waiver” in regards to the eight period day indicate that no longer can conditions be attached to the vote
by the staff?
A: No. The vote is still in place and the vote language is strengthened regarding who conducts the vote and how the vote is conducted.
Anytime a 60% or 66% vote is needed, employees have leverage. If employees are willing to vote No if they do not get “x” (regardless of
what “x” is) you can attach whatever condition you want to the discussion with administration. If employees are going to vote Yes
regardless of whether the administration provides “x” then you never had any leverage to begin with. The change to this provision just
removes EESAC from the formula. Teachers will determine by a super-majority whether or not they want block scheduling or the 4×4
- Q: Will the committee composed of UTD and MDCPS representatives result in a MOU or LOU that mandates set practices in regards to
planning, collaborative planning, lesson study, and enhanced professional development that could possibly demand more work without
more compensation and or supersede contractual academic freedom?
A: Possibly. The contract allows for MOUs between contract ratifications. It is also important to note that neither Committee must agree to
anything. The agreement is that we will continue to discuss these issues as they could not be fully discussed/debated in time to finish a
contract by the beginning of school. UTD continues to support Academic Freedom and remains skeptical about some of the practices from
ETO etc. The Committee is tasked with issues related to a number of topics, some that members would find desirable. UTD is not going to
agree to something that is not supported by the membership. Unlike some other issues in the past, we are under no legal obligation to
make these changes. If something is a good deal for both, you may see it. If no good deal is available, I suspect nothing will come of the
- Q: Will a highly effective teacher in the “Performance Salary” pool receive a higher increase than the same teacher in the “Grandfathered”
A: No. Not this year.
- Q: You state that it is “your plan” and “your goal” to negotiate similar increases in both the “grandfathered” pool and the “performance”
pool. How can you guarantee that those who choose to maintain their PSC and who continue to be ranked as Highly Effective or Effective
will not be disadvantaged versus those who forego their PSC?
A: No guarantees. Each year employees will see the raises for various schedules and performance levels and they can decide for
themselves. I can only tell you our goal as of now and let you know that MDCPS is not opposed to our goal as of now. Laws change,
funding changes, decision makers on both sides change. The current goal is the current goal.
- Q: While it was previously clear how many years it would take a teacher to reach the top of the pay scale, assuming that the Union
Effectively negotiated a step move each year, it seems less clear how (or if) any teacher will make it to the top of the pay scale. Can you
Provide an example of a case showing the Union’s “plan” or “goal” as to how a teacher presently at each given step would see salary
increases each year that would result in reaching the current Step 23 level while retaining their PSC?
A: The schedule has changed multiple times and will continue to change. When some teachers started, 3 columns existed. Those columns
were moved into one and people were reset on steps. Steps have been added to schedule, primarily at the top many times over the year and recently some have been added just under the top pay. Steps were removed 14, 16 and 18 so that people would move up faster. The
contention that the step schedule has never changed is untrue. Multiple times step advancements did not take place. Recently we lost
steps in bad economic times. This happened in the early 90s and around 2003-04 as well. Salary negotiations have always been subject to
annual budgets and annual negotiations. The clearest evidence of this is when we agreed to the 2006-09 contract, we included very detailed
raises for all three years, but the raises in year 3 never materialized because the money was not there. Salary Adjustments going forward
will be negotiated within the parameters of the law. The adjustments will be more equitable top to bottom whether they are percentage
based or based on a dollar amount as opposed to the current model which has steps of .4% to steps of 11.96%. Employee thoughts about
the salary schedule vary widely depending on their current step and personal experience moving up in salary.
- Q: In this chart, if I am in step 7 I will earn $844 more than I did before?
A: Yes. An increase of $844(2%) instead of the base step increase of $169 (.4%). The entire raise is applied to base pay/daily rate and is retro
to July 1, 2015.
- Q: Is this raise however the TOP amount I can get if I am “highly effective”, or is it the raise I will receive regardless of my teacher evaluation?
A: The raise is based on your current schedule placement and is not impacted by your evaluation.
- Q: Also, if I was on Step 13 last year, will I be on Step 15 this year and earn $48,425?
A: No. If you were on step 13 last year (43,847) you will be on step 15 ($45,897). Your raise is $2,050 instead of the $1,853 you would have
received with a base step increase. You insert $48,425 which is the new step 17. All references to step in this answer will be irrelevant
after the raises are implemented and steps are removed from the portal replaced simply by your annual salary. You see your raise and
new salary by moving across the page. Do not go down a line. This is why arrows are included on the sheet.
- Q: If they are doing away with the Steps, what is the scale they will use every year?
A: No scale. Employees each have a salary. Employees will receive a raise/salary adjustment based upon their prior year salary, which
schedule they are on (grandfathered/performance), and their evaluation of Effective of Highly Effective (If on Performance). The salary
adjustments will be negotiated each year in compliance with state law.
- Q: And, will they ever give us back the Steps they froze a couple of years ago?
A: No. The legislature did not provide funding to make up steps that were missed in the recession. The salary schedule is required to
change by law and therefore “steps”” will no longer exist. If additional funds are provided in the future to make up for the lean years,
they will be applied to all employee salaries as negotiated at that time. The step schedule will not be used to determine raises after this
- Q: So, in a way are they sneaking a step increase in this year???
A: Yes, but we do not want to say step as we are not using that term going forward. We also have a group (14.13% of teachers) that receive
less than the step. These are the teachers currently on steps 15 (they get $2725 instead of $3300), step 17 (they get $ 2900 instead of
$3000), step 21 (they get $3425 instead of $5464) and step 22 (they get $3761 instead of $7511). Each of these groups is getting roughly a 6%
raise (highest MDCPS would go) which is higher than all other employees who mostly get around 2% (but some get less than 2%). All teachers
are getting a raise. 85.87% of teachers are getting a raise that provides them with more $ than a simple step on the old/current schedule. We
are dropping the term step and moving to base/annual salary in order to allow for negotiations with in the parameters of the law going
- Q: What about paraprofessionals? I’m in the step before last and for many years we haven’t advanced a step which in my case is like $8,000. Will I ever get there? It’s so unfair that I’ve been stuck there for so many years.
A: Cannot say if it will happen or when. They have received a raise every year which has been across the board %. The % is better for many,
but those on the next to last step are clearly the exception. We have pressed this issue many times, but MDCPS has an issue with steps for
ESPs. The huge raise that some would get is a major part of their objection. We also often get pushback based on the fact that MDCPS must
negotiate with other employee groups after UTD. If they give steps to ESPS (about 4% because of those huge jumps) they would need to
give other employees 4% as they have “me too” clauses. MDCPS does not have the funds to provide 4% to all. Actually, they have offered to
raise healthcare costs significantly and give everyone 4% in salary. That has always been a non-starter for us. We cannot increase healthcare
costs to even higher rates in order to provide a little better raise. The two must work in tandem for all. At least that is what we hear from the
membership when we survey and what we see in ratification votes. The last contract to get voted down imposed a cost share on all
employees for health insurance (No free option). That was not seen favorably by the membership and the group sentiment has not
- Q: Joe, another concern among teachers is caps on the number of teachers who will be rated highly effective. It seems Broward has deliberately kept the number of highly effective teachers at a minimum. Read the comment I received:
“I imagine Runcie will go to Tally this spring to make sure that the state creates a bell curve for each district since there is such a variance across districts as to the number of highly effective teachers. Last year it was 39% highly effective for Dade but only 5% in Broward. They didn’t have to pay us anything so they didn’t care. As soon as they have to pay us more for being highly effective, I imagine some sort of quota will have to be developed. They will also save money by not having to give money to any teachers rated ineffective.”
I know UTD has nothing to do with that, but can we expect that here in our district?
A: We negotiate this issue with MDCPS annually. The issue will change a bit as the FLDOE passed rules about test scores and ratings. We will find a way to implement those rules in the best interest of teachers, like we did with the rest of SB 736. We have to follow the letter of the law, but we have some latitude in how we do it. It is also important to note that the new model we have proposed (which will keep the value of HE Perf fairly close to the GF Salary Adjustment) should reduce outside pressure to cap the number of HE teachers. Most districts are capping the number because of the economic pressures of the two competing schedules. We believe that we have significantly reduced any basis for that pressure with this model. We had 35% HE last year and 38% the prior year.