Columbia Public School teachers could see pay increase next year

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COLUMBIA - Columbia Public School teachers could see a significant increase in salary for the coming school year. 

The new deal would increase the base salaries for teachers in the district and improve working conditions. 

Teachers without a Ph.D would see a $330 increase in base salary. Teachers with a Ph.D could see an increase of $3000 if the new agreement is passed. 

Columbia Missouri National Education Association is the exclusive representative for the teachers union in Columbia Public Schools. 

Teachers will vote to ratify the new agreement next week. The CMNEA conducts the ratification process independently of the district. 

"At the end of the season this year we reached a tentative agreement on working conditions and compensation," said Dana Clippard, Deputy Superintendent of Columbia Public Schools. 

Clippard said it was a great thing both sides were able to come together on an agreement. 

"I think we had a positive. productive bargaining season," Clippard said. "We are pleased both sides were able to reach a tentative agreement in order for CMNEA to take it to their unit."

If passed though the CMNEA, the agreement would go to the school board for approval on May 8.  

The new agreement bumps up the starting pay for new teachers, and Clippard says that will cost the district about $2.4 million a year.

"We wanted to design it so that a career classroom teacher could afford to remain in the classroom for a 30 year period if they desired," Clippard said. 

Clippard said the new agreement sets up the possibility of changing the teacher salary schedule more in the future. 

Along with the increased compensation, working conditions were addressed in the new agreement. 

One of the main focuses was helping teachers who move classrooms, which is mostly a problem in the high schools. 

"Some teachers have to move rooms, and that cuts into planning time, the logistics of picking up your things and moving to another room can be burdensome," Clippard said. "We really just tried to come up with an agreement that says we want to be cognizant of that, we want to minimize that so that you are maximizing instructional time."

Clippard said both sides were able to reach an agreement on wording for that.

Teachers and the district bargain yearly and they have a multi-year contract that is up in 2019. Each year though, teachers can bring forth new things to negotiate.