Teacher Contract Negotiations with the Cambridge Education Association (CEA)

Update: Teacher Contract Negotiations: Mediation
Posted August 31, 2023

The School Committee and Cambridge Education Association (CEA) have been negotiating a three-year (2023-2026) teacher contract to succeed the current contract that is still in effect.

In June, the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations (DLR) appointed a mediator. We believe that the negotiating teams are benefitting from expert and neutral mediation of this process. Requesting a state mediator demonstrates our commitment to reach an agreement on a fair contract that allows Cambridge Public Schools to operate responsibly, effectively, and sustainably, while valuing our talented and dedicated educators.

Since October 17, 2022, the bargaining teams have met 24 times and spent 83 hours bargaining, most recently on August 30, 2023, when the parties had their third mediation session. The parties have reached tentative agreement on 37 proposals. More mediation sessions are scheduled for September.

The school year will begin on Tuesday, September 5. We have worked through the summer preparing for the new school year to ensure that our scholars have the structure, support, and services they need to have an enriching and fulfilling school year. We had a great week last week welcoming all of our school and district administrators back and had a productive day of learning with our educators on Tuesday.

It is possible that you may notice some differences in the school buildings and classrooms as we open school in the midst of these contract negotiations. For example, you may see educators demonstrating outside the buildings before and after the contractual school day. You may also receive communications and social media postings from educators and union leaders. These, and other actions, often occur when contract negotiations are ongoing. We share this with you so that you are not surprised. To learn more about the key aspects of the contract (compensation, student learning time, educator evaluation) that the negotiating teams are currently working to resolve in mediation please see below.

The School Committee looks forward to continued negotiations with the CEA. We will continue to update the community periodically as we work together toward a new contract with our union partners.

Posted June 2, 2023

The School Committee and the Cambridge Education Association (CEA) have been engaged in negotiations over the past seven months in order to reach agreement on a new three-year (2023-2026) teachers’ contract to succeed the existing contract that is in effect until August 31, 2023.

In Units A & B, the CEA represents approximately 1,084 employees of the Cambridge Public Schools, including all teachers and some administrators, such as assistant principals, program directors, athletic coaches, and other positions.

Since October 17, 2022, the bargaining teams have met 21 times and spent nearly 73 hours negotiating, most recently yesterday, and exchanged proposals. The parties have reached tentative agreement on more than 25 proposals.

Unfortunately, the negotiating teams have been unable to reach agreement on the following key aspects of the contract:

  1. Compensation: The CEA has rejected the School Committee’s latest offer for annual salary increases.
    • The proposal would provide salary increases of 2.5%, 3%, and 3% in each of the three years of the contract for all teachers.
    • Over the course of the contract, the average CPS teacher salary is projected to increase from $99,834 to $108,562.
    • The proposal represents a total investment of more than $9.6 million in salary increases.
    • More than 60% of CPS teachers earn over $100,000 annually.
  2. Student Learning Time: In Kindergarten through grade 8, CPS has one of the shortest school days in Massachusetts, providing an inadequate amount of time for classroom teaching and learning.
    • In order to align the school day in Cambridge with most other districts across the Commonwealth, the School Committee has proposed adding 30 minutes of instructional time per day in the elementary and upper schools beginning in 2024.
    • K-8 educators would receive a pay increase of 7.5% for the additional instructional time.
    • The average salary for teachers working the longer day is estimated to be $116,728 by year three of the contract.
  3. Educator Evaluation:
    •  The School Committee has proposed that Cambridge adopt the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommended Classroom Teacher Evaluation Rubric. The rubric has been adopted by many districts across the Commonwealth, particularly to include student outcomes as an indicator in the evaluation of teacher effectiveness.

infographicAt this point, we believe we have reached an impasse and need the assistance of a neutral mediator to resolve these remaining items. The School Committee requested that the CEA join in the filing of a joint petition for mediation but the CEA declined the request. Accordingly, the School Committee has unilaterally filed a request with the state’s Department of Labor Relations (DLR) to appoint a neutral mediator to help resolve the impasse and help the parties reach agreement on a successor contract. We believe that the negotiating teams will benefit from expert and neutral mediation of this process. Requesting a state mediator demonstrates our commitment to continue the collective bargaining process to come to an agreement that is in the best interest of our students and educators.

Key Facts

Key Documents/Information

Current Agreement with CEA Units A & B: September 1, 2021 - August 31, 2023

Starting Salary Comparison with Surrounding Districts (most recent data available)

School District Bachelors Masters
Arlington  $55,500  $59,210
Belmont $55,624  $59,723
Boston $64,432  $68,866
Brookline  $58,895  $65,632
Cambridge  $61,040  $65,340
Newton  $56,940  $61,899
Somerville  $63,929  $69,354

Additional Learning Time

According to evidence-based research, additional learning time:
  • Plays a critical role in bridging achievement gaps among students, as it affords teachers time to address specific learning needs.
  • Allows for more thorough coverage of the curriculum by ensuring that students have additional time to master essential skills and acquire a strong foundation of the content.
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