NYC and union officials hail move toward pay parity for pre-K teachers but some worry over educators left out of deal

Hundreds of New York City pre-K teachers could see their pay increased by as much as $20,000 under a deal announced Tuesday by city officials and labor leaders.

Still unclear is when progress will be made for thousands of pre-K teachers whose pay is lagging and who don’t belong to a union — though city leaders and advocates said the tentative agreement could also set the stage for these teachers to receive a salary boost. Should that come to pass, today’s agreement could be a historic starting point for pay increases across the city’s pre-K landscape, though some are waiting for more details before declaring victory.

At issue is the wide pay gap between teachers who work in community-run preschools — which enroll the bulk of students in the city’s free, universal pre-K program — and those who teach in public school classrooms overseen by the education department and governed by its contract with the United Federation of Teachers.

Teachers who work in community-run classrooms aren’t considered public employees, but their salaries are largely dependent on public dollars that flow through city contracts with pre-K providers.

On Tuesday, the city announced an agreement with District Council 1707 Local 205 that would steadily boost salaries for 315 pre-K teachers over three years, eventually matching what starting teachers in public schools make. The deal marks a significant win for those teachers, who were among those calling for a strike at community preschools this spring — just as Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off a bid for president touting universal pre-K as his signature policy achievement.

“We cannot have a system where certified teachers and community-based organizations start out earning thousands of dollars less than those doing the same job in public schools,” said Speaker Corey Johnson, who, along with city council members, pushed to address the inequity in budget negotiations. “Today is setting the path to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Only a small number of teachers are in line for the largest raises because only those who are certified would be eligible. Those are the very teachers who often jump ship for public school classrooms, where they can earn tens of thousands of dollars more — a trend that many hope the new pay deal will help reverse.

Download the full article here.

Get the Latest Updates --> Sign Up!