The School Board of the Reading School District approved a five-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Reading Education Association (REA), which represents the 1200 plus professional employees of the Reading School District, including teachers, school counselors, social workers, and nurses.
The current agreement is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2023. The approved agreement will become effective on July 1, 2023. This is the earliest-settled CBA in recent Reading School District memory.
This new CBA makes Reading School District’s compensation extremely competitive with other Berks County schools. For example, a newly-hired teacher with a bachelor’s degree will now earn $50,395, up from the current starting salary of $47,475. By year three, those same new hires will exceed the county average for third-year professionals with yearly step and column movement. By their fifth year, the same class of new hires will be the third-highest paid in Berks County and within $1,000 of the second-highest paid in the county with yearly step and column movement.
This would be a 48.4% increase in their starting salary. On average, all professional employees will realize annual increases of 4.9%
“We are excited about this contract,” Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Murray states. “We believe it acknowledges the sacrifices of our staff and the difficult nature of working in education today. A five-year contract is rare; however, it provides the needed stability and predictability for our professional staff to plan their professional goals.”
Other items in the new agreement include: Healthcare premium contribution remains the same for the length of the contract. New (and earlier) longevity bonuses to professional employees with continuous years of service, as early as the sixth year of consecutive service; the earliest in Berks County. Increase in Special Education stipends with annual increases. Creation of an ESL stipend for ESL-certified teachers who are engaged in progress monitoring for English Language Learners; only school district in the county, possibly in the state to offer an annual ESL stipend.
“This contract has the power to benefit members of Reading Senior High School’s Class of 2023 and beyond,” Dr. Murray explains. “Under the agreement, a new hire to the District in the 2027-28 school year would make $59,170. This means that members of the Class of 2023 who obtain their college degrees and get certified in four years could earn $59,170 right out of college. This contract is an investment in making today’s graduates tomorrow’s professional employees. We need a professional workforce that understands our students and whom our students can see themselves becoming. Reading is a place where we want our graduates to flourish professionally while supporting their community.”