Jefferson County Teachers Association members have ratified a new five-year contract with the school district, which includes no cost-of-living pay increases next year and gives principals more flexibility in hiring.
The JCTA asked its over 6,000 members to vote over the past week and union officials now say 84 percent approve of the contract.
Teachers will still receive increase pay based on the number of years they’ve worked for Jefferson County Public Schools—these are called “step” increases—and those with higher degrees will continue receiving more pay.
The Jefferson County Board of Education has been waiting for the teachers’ reaction before taking its own vote. Board members have previously said they don’t wish to comment on the contract either until after the vote.
JCPS and JCTA officials negotiated the contract over the course of three weeks with increased pressure from outside groups, some of which wanted the negotiations to be done in public.
Both an anti-union group and the JCTA itself ran radio ads that stemmed from comments made by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, who criticized the union for its seniority-based hiring practices and for its contract which he said appeared to block certain district practices that could improve student success.
JCTA president Brent McKim has maintained those comments are untrue.
In a statement release by a public relations firm, JCTA President Brent McKim, said “We were all trying to negotiate the best agreement possible at a time when we are dealing with federal sequestration and state budget cuts. It’s a particularly bad year to be bargaining for things that require financial resources. “
“We were able to make a significant number of improvements to the agreement that will benefit students, teachers, and parents. The changes to the transfer process expand choices for schools and opportunities for teachers while honoring experience and service by teachers.”