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This inflation adjusted salary chart shows how MDCPS and UTD have made mid-career teacher pay virtually disappear. Click here for a printable copy.

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Despite these obvious savings in teacher salaries over the past decade, we start contract negotiations for 2017-18 in Miami Dade County with the usual dire warnings of economic catastrophe from the superintendent. Even with Tallahassee raising per pupil spending by over $100 and record high property tax collections, the district needs to set the stage of economic calamity so teachers’ expectations remain low.

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After MDCPS Science Teacher of the Year’s eloquent speech to the School Board regarding veteran teacher pay,  the superintendent promised a “creative and elegant” solution that will make grandfathered teachers whole again. You can watch her speech and the superintendent’s response here

The following week, the superintendent’s creative and elegant solution is revealed in UTD’s proposal #13. Grandfathered teachers who were on steps 13 through 20 in 2015 were to receive a five year retention supplement for “mid to late career teachers” ranging from $1,000-$5,500 in order to mitigate financial losses incurred in the transition to performance pay upon completion of 25 years of service. Only a few days later, UTD’s proposal #13 cuts unlucky step 13 out of the group of grandfathered teachers entitled to receive a retention supplement by changing the wording to salary amount in 2015 instead of step (you had to be earning $48,000 and step 13 was only earning $45,000).

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This celebration would be short lived. A week after the grand reveal of the creative and elegant solution UTD had bargained the retention supplement of $5,500 down to $750.

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So what happened over the course of a week to cause such a drastic decline in the retention supplement? The highly effective performance pay raise went from 1.8% to 2.5%, beginning teacher pay was raised by $200, the top of the pay scale was raised by $600, and the United TEACHERS of Dade added a $2,000 retention supplement for educational support personnel on steps 13 and 14 (they still have steps).

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Meanwhile, grandfathered teachers steps 6-13 get to pay for top teacher pay, raising beginning teacher pay, performance pay, a retention supplement for certain grandfathered teachers, and now an ESP supplement on steps 13 and 14.

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In response, UTD tried to offer some encouragement to grandfathered teachers under 20 years experience by telling them that some day, they too might benefit from a retention supplement.

 

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After 14 years, I am perhaps 1/10 of the way up the pay scale and with a 2% raise every year for the next 16 years I will max out at $62,000 after 30 years of teaching.

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This is a familiar line from UTD. That was their sales pitch whenever younger teachers complained about receiving $181 raises while older teachers received a $12,000 step. Only, oops, SB736 made us bargain away your steps and now you’re screwed. As beginning teacher pay has risen and the top of the pay scale has risen, the steps in the middle actually lost value over the course of the past decade with most mid career teachers earning more money in 2004 than in 2017.

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21 year teacher

A UTD steward tried to claim that these memes were misleading and inaccurate. Please review the salary schedules from 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2014 and compare for yourselves. I’m sure UTD would like to perform some magic trick to make these old salary schedules disappear, but sorry teachers are hoarders.

steps 2004-2013

2007 was the last year that steps equalled experience in Miami Dade County. Notice that the fine print on the bottom states that teachers with outstanding performance will receive a 5% supplement in addition to their step. Also worth noting, is that per pupil spending is now higher than 2007 levels (although it did decline during the Great Recession and was not fully restored until recently). An outstanding teacher in 2017 is only worth 2.5% total.

2007-8 salary schedule

Collective bargaining in Dade has always worked in such a way that in order for one group to benefit, another group has to get royally screwed. Unfortunately, I happen to be in that unfortunate cohort of teachers that always loses out in every contract. When I asked UTD why their step schedule was so inequitable, their response was “because it encourages longevity.” Apparently the National Center for Teacher Quality came to the opposite conclusion, that protracted salary schedules discourage teachers from remaining in the profession. Let’s look at a couple of images from the NCTQ comparing Miami’s pay structure to Chicago’s. They thought 21 years was a long time to reach the top, imagine what the NCTQ is going to say about how long in takes Miami teachers to reach the top in future reports! Our pay structure is a national embarrassment!

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Miami Dade time to reach top pay 2012

The illegal removal of grandfathered teachers from the step schedule will save the district hundreds of millions of dollars, while costing mid to late career teachers (teachers with 10-26 years experience) hundreds of thousands of dollars. These are the same teachers who have dedicated their lives to Miami’s children and are the ones responsible for all of the accolades that our Superintendent and School Board like to brag about. Other than the token gesture of a $750 retention supplement, nobody really seems to care about our economic predicament. If you care, and want the opportunity to receive real compensation for financial losses incurred, click here to donate to the grandfathered lawsuit. You can find out more about it here

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Meanwhile, in another example of UTD’s collective bargaining abilities, the district’s original proposal to mandate collaborative planning for 90 minutes a month (some of which could be in lieu of faculty meetings) actually ended up being much worse after negotiations than before. The amount of minutes increased to 120 and the “in lieu of faculty meetings” language disappeared. Click here to read the district’s latest proposal.

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Although nobody knows exactly what the United Teachers of Dade and Miami Dade County Public Schools will come to an agreement on for MDCPS employees for the 2017-18 school year, it will certainly be much less than what we are worth.

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If you would like to be involved in organizing efforts around the contract and contributing your school’s contract vote tally to an anonymous survey, join the MDCPS Employees You are Worth More Facebook group, visit the Miami Educator Facebook page, or follow this blog to get automatic updates.

 

***Special thank you to all of you that contributed images that were posted on this blog. If you want to make your own memes, this site makes it super fast and easy. ****

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