New contract would give Dayton teachers No. 3 starting salary in area

Dayton Public Schools’ pending teacher contract extension would make the district’s starting salary the third-highest in the area, behind only Oakwood and the Miami Valley Career Technology Center.

The district declined to release contract documents last week, then posted them this week as part of a school board meeting agenda. The documents show the starting salary for a DPS teacher with a bachelor’s degree in 2019-20 will be $44,671 if the school board approves the contract at its June 25 meeting.

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That starting number was exactly $4,000 less in the 2018-19 school year. The new agreement was already ratified by the teachers union and signed by Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli last month.

Lolli has said the new agreement is aimed at making salaries more competitive with other districts, as academically struggling Dayton schools have had trouble recruiting and retaining teachers in recent years.

“With the change in our ability to recruit, with higher salaries for both teachers and principals, we’re pretty sure that we’re going to make a major difference in how we do instruction in our classrooms,” Lolli said last week.

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The move to third-highest starting salary would be a big jump. A 2016 Dayton Daily News review of local school districts showed Dayton ranked 14th of 45 in starting salary at that time. The agreement includes 3% raises each of the next two school years, meaning the starting salary in 2021-22 will be $47,391.

The starting salary is important, but DPS officials say they have lost many good teachers because the top end of Dayton’s salary schedule, for experienced teachers, has been as much as $25,000 lower than surrounding suburban districts.

This past year, the salary for a DPS teacher with a master’s degree topped out at $70,026, while a similar teacher in Kettering, Centerville or Beavercreek would make more than $90,000.

Teachers union President David Romick said this extension adds some salary steps between years 15 and 20 to address that. DPS teachers with a master’s degree and 20-plus years of experience will make $77,774 this fall and $82,508 in 2021-22 — still behind, but a significant raise.

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The contract extension includes some other give-and-take items:

• The maximum amount of accumulated sick leave teachers can cash out as severance will increase from 25% of 180 banked days (equivalent of 45 days’ pay), to 25% of 280 banked days (70 days’ pay).

• Fifteen minutes are added to the length of the teacher day, but that time is teacher-directed, non-student time.

• Instead of four unrestricted personal days, teachers will have two unrestricted days and two that can only be used for specific reasons.

• Teacher release days for writing special education plans cannot be on a Monday, Friday, or in the final month of the school year.

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Dayton teachers were on the verge of a strike in August 2017 before a contract agreement was reached. Romick said if the district avoids state takeover this fall, having three years of labor peace ahead will provide stability that will be good for teachers, students and the district as a whole.

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