GLOSSARY OF TERMS
- Bumping: During layoffs, the process by which a more senior teacher may transfer into the position held by a junior teacher from his/her position within a school or district (which may result in the layoff of the junior teacher).
- Collaborative planning: The amount of time set aside on a regular (daily, weekly, or monthly) basis for teachers to meet with one another for the purposes of planning, discussing student progress, or other similar collaborative efforts. This does not include professional development, conferences, or other meetings.
- Collective bargaining: The process of negotiations between the school district and the teacher’s union to reach an agreement governing the terms and conditions of employment for teachers.
- Contract: For the purposes of this database, a collective bargaining agreement that governs the terms of conditions of a teacher’s employment and has been negotiated between the school district and the teachers' union. The terms of the agreement are determined through the process of collective bargaining. This database does not include contracts that are individually negotiated.
- Full Time Equivalent: Full-time equivalent (FTE) of staff is the sum of all full and part-time positions in a district or school, presented as a decimal. FTE counts do not indicate the number total individual staff members that work in a district. For example, two staff members who works half-time (for example, 0.5 FTE each) in a district is counted the same as a full-time (1.0 FTE) staff member in the same district.
- Illegal Subject of Bargaining: Those subjects which parties cannot determine through the bargaining process, usually because it conflicts with state or federal law (a contract provision that discriminates against a group of people who are protected under state or federal non-discrimination statutes, such as classifications based on race or gender). For more information, please visit our “Laws on Collective Bargaining.”
- Lane: A teacher’s placement into a salary category in the local district’s negotiated salary schedule; most often, but not always, correlated to the teacher’s highest degree obtained by an institute of higher education.
- Longevity payments: Longevity payments are payments issued by reaching or surpassing a certain “milestone” year, such as 25 years of service. They may be annual payments or a one-time payment.
- Mandatory Subject of Bargaining: Those subjects that must be determined through the bargaining process because they relate directly to "wages, hours and conditions of employment" (for example, salary or time required to be in the classroom) For more information, please visit our “Laws on Collective Bargaining.”
- Mid-scale salary: The mid-scale salary is an approximation of what a teacher would earn in the middle of his or her career. Unless otherwise specified in a comment, the salary is reported from Step 8 of the schedule.
- Permissive Subject of Bargaining: Any subject of bargaining that is not mandatory or illegal. The parties may, but are not required to, negotiate over such subjects (for example, teacher evaluations). For more information, please visit our “Laws on Collective Bargaining.”
- Preparation time: The time a teacher has during the school day to prepare for classroom instruction. This includes creating of lesson plans, grading assignments, or other preparation activites.
- Recall Rights: The right for teachers dismissed during reductions in force to remain on a list for a specified period of time. If a position opens when a teacher is at the top of that list, the teacher has the right to be recalled for employment in the district that dismissed them.
- Reduction in Force (RIF): The process by which a school district conducts a layoff. Districts may enact a reduction in force for a number of reasons, including decreased student enrollment or financial reasons.
- Salary schedule (salary scale): A grid that specifies the annual salary a teacher earns based on a cross-section of two factors; columns are called “lanes,” while rows are called “steps.” Most frequently, lanes are determined by degree status, while steps are correlated to years of experience.
- Seniority: Seniority in this database is any definition of length of service. This includes, but is not limited to, continuous or total service in district, years teaching in or outside of the district, and date of hire.
- Sick leave bank: A voluntary program wherein teachers may donate a certain number of their sick days each year. In return for these donations, teachers may withdraw up to a designated maximum of sick days from the bank during periods of extended illness.
- Step: A teacher’s placement in the local district’s negotiated salary schedule; sometimes, but not always, correlated to the number of years of experience.
- Step Freeze: A mutual decision made by the teachers' union and the district to temporarily hold all teachers at their current salary step for cost savings.
- Teacher Tenure Act: State statute that governs the employment of teachers in Connecticut and details a number of key employment rights, covering any certified staff below the rank of superintendent. CONN. GEN. STAT. §10-144 - §10-159
- Tenure: An employment status for teachers that grants them certain procedural protections that can be earned in 3 ways, as specified in the Teacher Tenure Act:
- 40 months of full-time continuous service (or its equivalent) in a single school district, provided the superintendent offers the teacher a contract to return for the following school year on the basis of effective practice as informed by performance evaluations
- 20 months of continuous service for a teacher who has previously received tenure with any one board of education, provided the superintendent offers the teacher a contract to return for the following school year on the basis of effective practice as informed by performance evaluations
- 10 months for a teacher serving in a priority school district and who has achieved tenure in this or another state
- Tuition reimbursement: Reimbursement expenses provided by the district to teachers who pursue post-secondary education related to their employment, including master’s degrees, 6th year degrees, Ed.D etc.
- Union: The exclusive bargaining representative for certified employees, specifically teachers or administrators.
Why Do These Contract Provisions Matter?
The information below highlights the importance of the contract provisions that we include on our Find & Compare page.
This section provides information about the negotiation process and timelines, including when the contracts expire, which collective bargaining unit (union) negotiates them, and a link to the PDF of the contract. Negotiation timelines are set by state law, creating a requirement for contracts to be finalized by certain timelines and dates. If the contracts are not finalized within the timelines created by law, the contract negotiation process will go to mandatory arbitration.
Work Day and Work Year
This section includes the amount of time each day and each year teachers are contractually required to work and in what capacity. Number of work days varies but is generally between 180-190 days for teachers. Districts with longer work days and work years often build teacher support systems such as preparation and professional development into the mandated work day and year. Although these provisions outline the contractual obligations under which teachers must work, this is not necessarily reflective of the amount of time that teachers actually work daily or annually.
This section summarizes the processes related to the recommended and/or required class size for teachers at different school levels. Because a provision on class size is not always found in contracts, it is notable which districts have these provisions and the conditions contained therein (a number of larger districts, for example, contain this provision). Class size is generally specified in five ways: goal, guideline, limit, range, or ratio. For example, some districts may have a class size specified, but this specification may be a guideline or a suggested goal and therefore exceeding the guide number carries no stated penalty. Conversely, some districts will specify a strict range or limit on class sizes and may specify that certain procedures must take place when this number is breached (for example: adding additional staff such as teaching assistants or splitting classes).
Salary is one of the most important sections of the contract, and in many cases, is the most contentious issue negotiated. Salary negotiations may include discussions related to the percentage by which salaries will increase annually over a multi-year period, and how salary will change based on experience and degree status. Negotiations may also include a step freeze, a mutual decision made by the teachers' union and the district to temporarily hold all teachers at their current salary step for cost savings. Salary schedules can be the result of significant compromises from both sides of the table. The salaries of teachers in a district (particularly in comparison to neighboring or similarly situated and/or populated districts) can impact how a district attracts teacher talent to its schools.
This section describes various types of additional payments that teachers may earn above and beyond their salaries, based on extra qualifications, duties performed, or other efforts. These payments may be paid in various ways, including as annual stipends or hourly compensation. In a number of districts, teachers are provided with opportunities to earn significant amounts of money above and beyond their salary. When considering a district’s overall compensation package, these additional opportunities for compensation can make some districts far more attractive to current and future teachers. There are also provisions that highlight some of the ways districts provide incentives for additional education or performance, including tuition reimbursement and performance-based pay.
This section details various types of leave that teachers are granted throughout the school year and the conditions under which such leave may be taken, including, but not limited to: sick, personal, sabbatical and leave for professional development purposes.
This section provides basic information regarding various types of insurance benefits offered by the district. Health insurance is locally negotiated for each district. It is an important benefit for employees and a major cost driver for districts. Most districts in the state have begun to offer a High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account as a way to reduce costs. Robust benefit packages, especially health insurance, are historically considered as one of the attractions to the teaching profession.
Layoff & Transfer Procedures
This section summarizes the procedures by which teachers may be either laid off or transferred to another position as a result of a reduction in force. Districts may enact a reduction in force for a number of reasons, including decreased student enrollment or for financial reasons. Seniority is the most common factor that drives the layoff decision process. The range of other factors that districts consider can range from performance evaluations to degree status.
Although the conditions for evaluations are generally set outside of collective bargaining, some specific components related to teacher evaluations might be referenced or included in contracts. This section summarizes the extent to which a district’s contract specifies the procedures for educator evaluation. Inclusion of evaluations in a teacher’s collective bargaining agreement is reflective of the increased attention concerning the teacher evaluation process, particularly within the context of the state’s new educator and administrator evaluation system.