Cypress teachers ratify retroactive pay raise agreement

File ACT photo.

For the first time in a long time, approximately 200 schoolteachers in the Cypress School District are working with a contract this week, as the Association of Cypress Teachers have finally ratified the tentative agreement.

“Salary and benefits are settled until the 2023-24 school year,” announced Elizabeth Dunagan, the ACT’s top negotiator, in an email statement after the vote this week.
Teachers have been working without an agreement for the previous and current school year after negotiations between the district and the teacher’s union broke down in May.

“The district is excited to learn that the teachers have just ratified the tentative agreement. The ratification means a lot,” said Dr. Timothy McLellan, Assistant Supt. for Business Services.

“It means that our collective efforts in working with teachers is appreciated,” he said.
McLellan confirmed the new teacher’s agreement includes a 3% retroactive salary increase for 2021-22, and a 6% salary increase for the current 2022-23 school year.

“We will be presenting the tentative agreement to our Board of Trustees for their final approval at their next meeting on Oct. 13,” he said.

“Once approved, the district will work to process retro payments to all teachers before the end of the year,” he noted. “Given today’s inflationary pressures on everyone, we’re excited this agreement is made possible for our teachers.”

Should the district approve the new agreement as expected, teachers within the district can now expect extra checks before Christmas to reflect the retroactive amounts due per the new agreement.

For the first time since the district was formed more than 100 years ago, teacher’s union within the elementary school district failed to reach an agreement with the district.
When it became obvious the district would not improve their offer and teachers would not back down on their demands, the district declared an “impasse,” triggering a process that required both sides to negotiate through a state mediator.

It took the mediator from the state Public Employee Relations Board only two sessions, one of which lasted two days, to compel an agreement.

Although there are some associated issues that still require minor action, the district’s teacher’s have agreed on what will amount to a 9 percent pay raise, including 3 percent for the previous school year and six percent for the current school year.

She said teachers will go back to the bargaining table in January to address special education, class sizes and work hours, said Dunagan, although she did not elaborate on the related issues.

“We want to make things better for our students,” she said.

And, although teachers overwhelmingly approved the agreement, Elizabeth Dunagan hinted that the process uncovered some issues that is prompting the group to get involved in the fall elections.

“We have three school board seats up for re-election,” said Dunagan in the statement, “two of them with challengers, and ACT is considering an endorsement of candidates for the first time in a few years.”

Dunagan did not specify which endorsements or races they are considering involvement two seats, Trustee Areas B and C are both contested.

Cypress teachers ratify retroactive pay raise agreement