By guest blogger Mary Ann Zehr
The KIPP charter school network reached a 10-year agreement with the Baltimore Teachers Union today for how much it will pay its teachers for working extra-long hours.
The charter network had threatened it would close its two schools in Baltimore if it couldn't settle on a long-term contract with teachers similar to the one-year contract in place now. That agreement expires June 30. (For an in-depth look at the disagreement, and the conversation about it among our readers, see my story from earlier this week.)
With the announcement of the agreement, KIPP said it would carry through on its promise to ask Maryland lawmakers to withdraw a bill pending in the legislature that would have enabled KIPP Baltimore to negotiate its own arrangement with teachers, if at least 80 percent of them in a given school agreed to it.
"I'm pinching myself ... We're over the moon with excitement," Steve Mancini, the director of public affairs for KIPP, said in a telephone interview today.
He expressed gratitude to three union representatives—Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English, American Federation of Teachers Vice President Loretta Johnson, and AFT senior research director Jewell Gould—for their efforts to collaborate with KIPP.
With the new deal, KIPP teachers will be paid 20 percent more than a Baltimore teacher working in a traditional public school to work a 9-hour day and teach summer school for 18 days. The contractual school day in Baltimore is seven hours and 5 minutes, almost a third shorter than the KIPP day.
The new arrangement will be only slightly different than what is now in place with the one-year contract. KIPP teachers in Baltimore currently work a 9 1/2 hour day plus summer school for 20.5 percent more in pay.
Even with the half hour reduction in the KIPP school day in Baltimore, said Mancini, KIPP teachers will still be working a longer day than teachers at any other charter school in that city.