Almost a year after the Cypress School District began negotiations with its teachers’ union, the district’s Board of Trustees officially ratified an agreement during their Oct. 13 board meeting.
After traditional negotiations failed, a state mediator had to be called in to resolve a deadlock between CSD and the Association of Cypress Teachers (ACT), which represents the district’s approximately 200 teachers. The sticking point in the contract talks was over salary increases and benefits.
It was the first time in the district’s long history that the school district and its teachers failed to voluntarily reach an agreement. The agreement negotiated by the mediator calls for a 3% pay raise retroactive for the 2021-22 school year and another 6% increase effective July 1, 2022, both sides have confirmed.
This amounts to a cost of roughly $19 million or about $98,872 on average per affected employee, according to the district.
The ACT membership approved the pending agreement in September almost immediately after the two sides agreed on the new terms.
“We are very happy to have an agreement,” said Dr. Tim McLellan, CSD Assistant Supt. for Business Services. “The district wants to see our teachers paid as much as possible within the budget,” he said.
Now that the district Board of Trustees has also approved the agreement, the district will begin processing the checks representing the retroactive pay raise amounts, McLellan confirmed. He said checks should begin arriving in teachers’ mailboxes sometime in December.
“We are happy the Board approved the contract,” said Elizabeth Dunagan, a teacher who has acted as the ACT’s chief negotiator throughout the process.
Though the pay raise issue has been resolved, she said, the district and the ACT have yet to schedule negotiations on some remaining issues.
Dunagan said the housekeeping issues include work hours, special education staffing “and some conversation about how teachers can be more active with helping the district decide how funds can best be spent to support our students moving forward.”