Orange County teachers ratify salary agreement after lengthy negotiations with school district

Orange County teachers have voted to ratify the bargaining agreement with the county's school board after an "arduous" negotiation process, the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association announced Monday. Out of the over 7,100 ballots cast, 99.5% of them voted to approve. 

Orange County Public Schools and the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association agreed on the new contract in early March. Ratification was the next step in the process. 

"It is exciting to see our teachers decisively voted to ratify their contract," said Superintendent Dr. Maria Vazquez. "With this vote, our hard-working teachers have guaranteed their well-deserved raises."

Under the agreement, Orange County Public Schools teachers will get percentage-based salary increases, which is "aimed at alleviating deep compression within OCPS teacher salaries," the OCCTA said in a news release. 

‘INSULTING TO TEACHERS’: Orange County teachers union says district's salary changes are misleading

"The Union negotiated raises of 9.7% for Highly Effective teachers after the District had opened negotiations insisting on flat amount increases that averaged about 3.7% for veteran teachers and 5.4% for new teachers," the release continued. 

The school district said the 9% raise will be paid to instructional personnel retroactively to the beginning of the school year. 

The agreement also calls for a health insurance premium discount of $4.4 million for the upcoming school year. The school district will also conduct a "comprehensive insurance review" to help keep premiums affordable for teachers. 

"This contract victory was achieved through advocacy and unity. It is not only an agreement that teachers deserved and earned—it also helps our students succeed. Our Union remains dedicated to ensuring that our educators are recognized for their teaching excellence," OCCTA President Clinton McCracken said in a news release. 

Additionally, teachers have already brought the school district back to negotiations for other salary increases and issues for the upcoming 2024-25 school year.