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Columbus Board of Education Votes to Approve Teacher Contract that Focuses on Student Achievement, Highly Qualified Teachers

 Gary Baker signs the contract with CEA Aug. 26, 2019 -- The Columbus Board of Education at a special meeting Monday morning voted unanimously to approve a three-year contract agreement with the Columbus Education Association (CEA), the union representing the District’s 4,000 teachers, nurses, counselors, social workers and other education professionals. 

“The Board of Education is pleased with the outcome of the contract negotiations,” said Board President Gary L. Baker, II. “Many of the contract provisions will enable the District to recruit and retain the best teachers and education professionals, which in turn will have a direct impact on student academic achievement. That’s exactly what the Board wanted; it’s what our families and community wanted.”

CEA held its membership meeting Sunday evening and voted to accept the contract.

Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon said, “The negotiating teams for both Columbus City Schools and CEA not only negotiated in good faith, but also clearly negotiated with our students’ best educational interests top of mind the entire time. This contract is a win for its focus on increasing student achievement; a win for its fair compensation of teachers as educational professionals; and a win for the community seeking oversight and a return on their investment to keep our schools strong.”

This past week during her Convocation address, Dr. Dixon presented to the Board of Education and to the District’s 9,000 employees her four major goals and strategic priorities for achieving those goals in the 2019-20 school year. She said she believes,  “The contract closely aligns with and will help us meet both our short- and long-term academic goals and strategic priorities.” 

Dr. Dixon said the District’s priority goal is a laser focus on student academic performance, with a renewed focus on literacy and numeracy especially in early childhood and the younger grades.  “I believe the contract is a critical tool to help ensure our students reach their full potential every year from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. We also will see increased graduation rates,” she said, and pointed to several elements in the contract that support student outcomes:

  • Smaller Class Size – Beginning in 2020-21 through 2021-22, phase-in of class size reduction until the maximum class size is 27 pupils for grades K-3.
  • Increase the number of early childhood education teachers by 8 by fiscal year 2021.
  • Increase the number of social workers by 15 by fiscal year 2021.
  • Increase the number of school nurses by 12 by fiscal year 2021.

At the heart of efforts to achieve the District’s goals is the work happening in the classroom, Dr. Dixon said. “Our teachers are on the front line daily, and they are the ones driving academic outcomes for our students,” Dr. Dixon said. “The administration and Board of Education love, respect and support all of our teachers and the work they do to drive our District – and our students – forward. 

Dr. Dixon and President Baker pointed to several elements in the contract supporting the District’s commitment to its teachers:

  • A three-year contract.  It has been 10 years since the District and CEA have had a three-year contract (2006-2009). Typically, the norm is a two-year contract. “It’s important that we provide stability for our educational professionals,” Dr. Dixon said.
  • A 3% salary increase each of the three years of the contract. “It is essential our students have high-quality and dynamic teachers in their classrooms,” President Baker said. “We are in a competitive market in central Ohio. We must do all we can to attract and retain the best teachers and staff for the students in Columbus City Schools.”
  • Increased Professional Development. The contract provides for teachers to engage in a minimum of 40 hours each school year of job-embedded professional development. Additionally, the contract provides for a new “Instructional Rounds” professional development tool for the purpose of improving student instruction, practice and student learning.

“We applaud both negotiating teams for their diligence in reaching a contract agreement that so clearly has the potential to drive improved academic achievement for all our students,” President Baker said. “All of us know the goals and strategies needed, and we can now move forward together to ensure every student can achieve academic progress.”