The Washington Teachers Union (WTU) reached an agreement with the city this week on a new contract that significantly increases compensation for the thousands of teachers in the D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) system, ending a yearslong standoff.
After a long and testy battle — the union had operated without a contract since 2012 — Mayor Muriel Bowser, schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson and union President Elizabeth Davis announced Monday, Aug. 14, a tentative deal for a new contract that will increase wages by nine percent over the next two years for city teachers.
“Since 2007, the District of Columbia has blazed a trail to better schools — investing more resources in our classrooms, adding exciting new programs for our students at all levels, and pouring billions of dollars into our school buildings,” Bowser said. “Yet, for too long, our teachers have not been shown the appreciation nor presented the compensation they deserve. But with this agreement, together we will give our teachers their proper due and send a clear signal that we are all in for kids.”
Under the proposed contract, educators will receive several salary increases, including a four percent retroactive increase in fiscal year 2017, a three percent increase in fiscal 2018 and a two percent increase in fiscal 2019.
Additional benefits include a structured collaborative engagement between DCPS and the union on various issues, including extended-year schools.
Union members will vote on the tentative agreement within 14 days. If the members approve the contract, it will then go to D.C. Council for a vote.
“I know a great teacher can change the trajectory of a student’s life, and the teachers at D.C. Public Schools work each and every day to change the lives of all our students,” Wilson said. “Our teachers ensure students are challenged academically, experience the joy of learning, and reach new altitudes.”
The Bowser administration said that DCPS — which it called the fastest-improving urban school district in the country — and WTU worked together to craft a contract that values a positive work environment, opportunities for growth and compensation that encourages teachers to plant roots in the city.
The contract builds on DCPS’s strong system of teacher support by providing them with additional professional compensation and benefits, Bowser’s office said.
In the 2016-2017 school year, DCPS said it employed 4,015 teachers and served nearly 50,000 students across 115 schools. The school system said it currently has the highest first-year teacher salary in the country at $53,000, as well as the fastest path for teachers to earn a six-figure salary.
“We make better decisions when teachers are part of the process, and it is important that teachers feel valued every day as they work in service of young people,” Davis said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Chancellor Wilson on behalf of our teachers.”