KIM MEDINA: 'Recognize teachers' value.'

The decades-long pay gap between certified Head Start Teachers and Department of Education Teachers will end with the ratification of a contract deal reached Oct. 3 by District Council 37, Local 95 and the Head Start Sponsoring Board Council.

If members vote in favor of the agreement, certified day care Teachers would receive two retroactive salary increases, as well as a raise effective Oct. 1, 2020, according to the de Blasio administration, which supported the negotiations. By Oct. 21, 2021 Head Start Teachers with a bachelor’s degree would make $61,070— $12,838 more than what they are currently paid. Those with a master’s degree would get a $15,517 bump in pay, earning $68,652.

‘A Monumental Feat’

“Our Head Start programs are the most comprehensive in the country,” said Kim Medina, special assistant to the executive director for District Council 37’s non-profit division. “This agreement is a monumental feat for our Head Start members and recognizes not only their value as teachers and educators but also the contributions they make to keep families together and doing well.”

André Lake, president of the Head Start Sponsoring Board Council of New York City that represents more than 200 programs receiving Federal Head Start funds, noted that the agreement would help address recruitment and retention issues. 

“It also gives agencies the ability to develop leadership pipelines that enable us to better serve our Head Start families,” he said.

Henry Garrido, executive director of DC 37, which earlier this year brought District Council 1707’s non-profit members under its banner, said that the agreement “once again demonstrates that by working together, great things can happen.”

The majority of the 2,650 members would not attain parity, since there were about 550 certified and non-certified Teachers, while the rest of the employees were support staff. Non-certified Teachers and non-teaching staff would receive a retroactive cost-of-living adjustment of 1.77 percent as of Feb. 19, as well as a $1,000 ratification bonus. The ratification vote was tentatively scheduled to take place on Oct. 21 at 125 Barclay St., according to DC 37.

‘More-Equitable System’

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who pressured the Mayor to end the gap faced by early-childhood educators by making it a contingency for a budget deal in June, said that the Head Start pact would help create a “more equitable early-education system.”

“We cannot tolerate pay disparities in our city among educators,” he said.

The de Blasio administration estimated that the tentative pact, which runs through January 31, 2022, would cost $7 million.

The Head Start pact is similar to the deal reached in July by District Council 1707, the Day Care Council of New York and the de Blasio administration that ended the pay gap for more than 300 certified Teachers who work at community-based day-care centers and provided raises for 3,900 other employees.

That agreement came after District Council 1707 spent months aggressively protesting the disparity, including authorizing a strike that was set to take place in May but was called off when the city agreed to negotiate more seriously.

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