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City Schools To Approve New Contract For Paraprofessionals

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Baltimore City Public Schools

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A new union contract linked to Baltimore City schools is expected to be approved Tuesday night.

Weijia Jiang reports has more.

Following a landmark deal struck between Baltimore City Public Schools and the teachers’ union just passed in November, the Board of School Commissioners is expected to approve a new contract for almost everyone else Tuesday night.

The contract gives benefits to paraprofessionals like teachers’ assistants, secretaries, accountants, human resource officers and other staff members that work for the school system.

“That will now treat them as the professional they are, the work they do treated with respect and dignity and not just ‘Oh well, you’re here to do this job,’” said Marietta English, Baltimore Teachers’ Union.

The contract will last for four years and includes a series of annual salary increases and bonuses.

For many employees, it’s the first time they’ll be linked to a union.

In a statement, the school CEO says the new contract moves the district close to meeting student needs with objective standards.

“We need to recognize those who are working harder, being more effective, more innovative while ensuring everyone has the opportunity to learn,” said Dr. Andres Alonso, Baltimore City Schools CEO.

Alonso leads the way in a series of fresh changes for the district, despite some criticism.

Negotiations for the teachers’ contract sparked controversy because pay raises are now based on student performance, not seniority. But ultimately, all the players reached an agreement.

“Baltimore’s leading the way in the whole United States. We are the most innovative union there is,” English said.

The contract goes into effect immediately, and it’s retroactive to the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

Last week, school commissioners approved a union contract for city schools’ administrators.

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