The Board of Education on Oct. 25 authorized Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) to negotiate a four percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union. Members of the CCPS negotiating team met with AFSCME leaders yesterday and the adjustment was approved through a memorandum of understanding.
The adjustment is effective with the Dec. 10 pay period. The cost to CCPS for the adjustment is about $1.5 million. It is a one-time cost outside of the current fiscal year budget. The cost will be addressed as a reoccurring cost in future budget cycles.
Starting with the Dec. 10 pay cycle, support staff members who fall under either a Unit III or Unit IV position that is covered by the AFSCME negotiated agreement will receive a four percent COLA adjustment. A list of eligible support staff employees is listed in the Appendix of AFSCME’s negotiated agreement posted online here. Support staff employees can also check with the CCPS Office of Human Resources to see if they are in an eligible position.
The adjustment is a step forward by the Board and CCPS to address salary lags for support staff positions in similar job markets. Last year, CCPS hired the Management Advisory Group Inc., to complete a classification and compensation study for support staff. Results of the study found that CCPS lagged behind other similar employers in classification and compensation by about 9.5 percent. The study evaluated 1,449 positions and 270 job classifications.
Results of the survey shared with the Board at its Sept. 14 meeting are posted here. Scheduled negotiations for all employees will begin in the spring.
The COLA also applies to CCPS contracted bus drivers and attendants. Although they are not CCPS employees, benefits negotiated through CCPS and AFSCME affect bus drivers and attendants. When a cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is negotiated by CCPS and AFSCME, CCPS bus drivers and attendants also receive the increase.
The study pulled current job data from employees about compensation and classification. MAG used the study results to compare compensation for CCPS employees to relevant labor markets and competitors. CCPS will continue to use results from the MAG study to negotiate increases for support staff to close the identified classification and compensation gaps.
Board of Education Chairperson Latina Wilson said this is a step in the right direction for CCPS to ensure support staff are earning competitive wages. “The MAG study was a tool for CCPS to analyze how our support staff are paid. Results of the study are being used to drive decisions about competitive compensation and classification of support staff members, including those who do not directly provide instruction to our students but support the children in Charles County in various roles daily. The Board is committed to ensuring that all CCPS employees receive a fair and competitive salary, and this one-time COLA adjustment is reflective of that commitment by the Board to our staff,” Wilson said.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.