TULSA, Okla.- The Tulsa Public School Board approved a new agreement with Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, Monday, for the 2015-16 school year.
The new agreement states that TPS employees will receive a one-step increase on the salary schedule.
The average step increase is just under $600 annually and represents an average 1.5 percent of employees current salaries.
Under this new agreement, the district has to pay career increments as stipulated in the 2014-15 agreement and to add an additional $500 to the career end of each lane on the salary schedule.
Both parties also agreed to reopen negotiations within 30 days of Jan. 1, 2016 for the sole purpose of considering terms and payment of a one-time stipend for the full 2015-16 year.
Other items included updating language about teacher re-balancing and reassignment, as well as the new AESOP system that is replacing Subfinder, the program used by teachers to schedule a substitute teacher in their absence.
Superintendent Gist says TPS teacher are deserving of a pay increase and wishes more could be done.
"Tulsa teachers are so deserving of a pay increase, and I really wish we could do more," said Deborah A. Gist, superintendent. "The financial constraints are so severe given current state funding levels that this is the best we can do at this time. I am thankful to the team for their hard work, and I am hopeful we will be able to do more in the future."
TPS Chief Financial Officer and president of TCTA shared their thoughts on the new agreement.
Trish Williams, Chief Financial Officer for Tulsa Public Schools, said, "We are pleased that we were able to have successful negotiations with TCTA. We held several meetings at the end of summer, and we were able to work through items of concern from both sides and come to agreement. We are pleased to recommend approval to the board."
Patti Ferguson-Palmer, president of Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association, said, "Negotiations are always cordial and friendly, and Trish Williams sets a great tone as the chief negotiator for the district, along with Linda Hendrix of Oklahoma Education Association. Going into negotiations, we did not have high hopes financially given limited state funding, but we are pleased that Tulsa teachers are advancing with ratification of this agreement. We are pleased that the district has agreed to reopen negotiations in January 2016, if there is the possibility of additional funding."