Friday, May 8, 1998

Agreement reached on Carlisle teachers' contract

by Marjorie Johnson

The Carlisle Teachers' Association (CTA) ratified the final version of their new three-year contract with the Carlisle School Committee on May 1. The contract provides for a 2.75 percent cost of living increase next year (1998-1999) and three percent raises for the following two years. It maintains the step and lane structure of the previous contract, but adds a new lane for Masters degree plus 60 credits to provide incentive for teachers to continue taking advanced courses.

The top possible base salary increases from $64,585 at the Masters plus 30 level in the first year of the contract to $72,338 at the Masters plus 60 level in the third year. The contract also provides incentives for achieving certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and for completing work that advances the school system's goals.

The school committee and Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson seemed generally pleased with the contract at the April 29 meeting where it was reviewed. A version of the contract had been ratified by the teachers prior to the school committee meeting, but school committee members had requested a change that CSC chair Burt Rubenstein felt was important to make, even though it would mean going back to the teachers for another vote. They wanted to make clear that the intent of the new Masters plus 60 lane was to reward new learning and was not a payback for past courses. The CSC voted to amend the contract and to require a future agreement with the teachers on this issue. They then ratified the amended contract.

CSC member Deb Lyneis noted some changes in the new contract that had grown out of alternate compensation discussions over the past two years. These include incentives for further learning among the teachers.

Although these incentives are not performance-based, Rubenstein described them as "paying teachers for what they know and what they do." The hope is that these changes in the compensation structure will improve the quality of education at the school, Lyneis said. She gave the CTA a lot of credit for agreeing to these departures from a standard contract.

Salary levels in the contract are comparable to those in Concord and other similar towns. Fox-Melanson said that Carlisle is probably about fifth in the state for teachers' salaries. (See the chart on this page.)

The teachers' salary scale has several components: "lanes", "steps" and cost of living.


The lanes are based on education degrees and further course work. There are lanes for Bachelors, Masters, Masters plus 30 credits (M+30) and, starting in 1999-2000, Masters plus 60 credits (M+60). Credits are earned for graduate level college courses beyond the Masters degree. A typical course is worth three credits. The superintendent must approve the credits for placement on the salary scales based on "their relevance to the staff member's current position, and potential worth in improving performance and in meeting needs as determined by the superintendent."

Many teachers are already in the M+30 lane. The M+60 lane has been added to encourage teachers to continue taking courses. It is expected that only two to four teachers may qualify for the M+60 lane in the first year that it is available, according to Rubenstein.


The teachers advance within their lane one step for each year of satisfactory performance until they reach the top step. The salary increases by 5 percent from one step to the next in the same lane. Beginning teachers are rewarded for increasing experience and their salaries rise rapidly as they receive both the 5 percent step and the cost of living increase. After teachers reach the top step, they only receive the cost of living increase.

The cost of living increase is across

the board on all lanes and steps from year to year. This coming year, for FY99 which runs from July 1, 1998 to June 30, 1999, the Carlisle Finance Committee set a salary guideline for all town departments of 2.75 percent. The teachers' new contract has a cost of living increase of 2.75 percent for FY99 and 3 percent for FY00 and FY01. This is a slight decrease from the 3.5 percent cost of living increases in the current contract.