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Teachers' Salaries Going Up

By RACHEL GOTTLIEB FRANK, Courant Staff Writer

February 20, 2008

Hartford teachers and administrators agreed to a series of landmark changes in their contracts that allow for performance bonuses and incentives for Hartford residency. The deal was sealed Tuesday night with a unanimous vote of the school board.

And next year, when the contract goes into effect, teachers' salaries in the city will be more competitive with both Hartford County and the state.

"This is a great step forward," Superintendent Steven Adamowski said Tuesday, adding that he was "shocked" when he first arrived in the city and learned how poorly Hartfordcompared with teachers' salaries around the state. Among the state's 10 biggest cities, Hartford's salary schedule ranked ninth, he said; of 29 Hartford County towns, Hartford ranked 27.

"Our teachers do the most challenging work anywhere in Hartford County," he said.

And now, Adamowski said, the district moves up to the 15th or 16th spot in the county and fifth among the state's 10 largest cities. The boost is designed to help with recruitment of new teachers and retention of talented teachers.

The board also Tuesday extended Adamowski's contract by another year, giving him three years and time enough, he said, to negotiate another teachers contract. In the next negotiation, he pledged, salaries will edge up to place the district among the top third in Hartford County.

The performance bonuses are something teachers in a school must agree to accept with an affirmative vote of 75 percent of the staff, said Cathy Carpino, president of the teachers' union. Then, if students show significant improvement on the Connecticut Mastery Tests, each teacher will earn a $2,500 bonus.

New teachers will also move up a step if they earn a top score on their portfolios that the state uses to evaluate new teachers.

Both principals and teachers who live in Hartford will be paid an additional 3 percent of their base pay for each year they live in Hartford. Teachers who work an additional hour in schools that extend their school days will be paid for that hour at the same rate they earn for the rest of the day.

"The teachers were very pleased" with the new contract, Carpino said, because they wanted to keep their health plan and they will, though it will cost them a little more. And they wanted to be paid for extended work days at the same rate they earned for the rest of the day. They will also have more planning time.

The percentage of pay increases for teachers varies according to where teachers fall on the salary scale, with greater increases the first year for experienced teachers.

The total cost of teachers' pay will rise about $5 million for each of the three years covered by the contract.

Administrators will see a 7.81 percent increase the first year, with an additional cost to the district of nearly $1 million; a 2.21 percent increase the second year and a 2.23 percent increase the third year. The cost increase is about $300,000 for each of the last two years.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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