Redmond School District officials knew they paid teachers less than other Central Oregon school districts. But a collective bargaining agreement approved Wednesday will try to level that playing field by giving Redmond’s teachers a raise of more than 3% for two straight years, starting now.

“The disparity between other Central Oregon districts and Redmond is great … so we’re trying to close that gap,” said Mike McIntosh, Redmond School District’s superintendent. “This is a significant boost to our teachers’ salaries.”

Because of the agreement, Redmond teachers will receive a 3% cost-of-living increase and a 0.25% additional salary increase this school year, and an extra 4% total salary raise — 3% cost of living increase and 1% base salary increase — when the 2020-21 school year starts, McIntosh said.

Teachers’ insurance premium cap was raised by $50 per month, jumping from $1,270/month to $1,320/month, he said. This means the school district will cover teachers’ insurance premiums up to that level.

The agreement provides $20,000 to be split among teachers in the 2020-21 school year for tuition reimbursement, if educators want to take college classes while teaching, McIntosh said.

These raises, along with the other new benefits for Redmond teachers, were approved by the Redmond Education Association and the Redmond School District on Wednesday.

Barry Branaugh, an executive board member of the Redmond Education Association, called the new raises and benefits “a good start” and said the higher salaries could help attract highly qualified teachers to Redmond.

“Both sides agree that we were at a bit of a competitive disadvantage,” he said. “We want the best teachers we can get in front of our students, (and) in order to do that, you have to be competitive.”

McIntosh said the exact numbers for the new salaries haven’t been calculated yet. But using the school district’s 2018-19 salary schedule, it can be estimated that new teachers entering Redmond with a master’s degree will earn about $41,985 this school year. New teachers with a master’s degree will make about $43,664 in 2020-21. These salary numbers are before Public Employees Retirement System contributions are subtracted.

This raise comes after Central Oregon’s largest school district, Bend-La Pine Schools, gave teachers raises in June. After a 3% cost of living raise, new Bend-La Pine teachers with a master’s degree are earning $42,559 this year.

Crook County School District gave teachers raises in June, as well, depending on how much education or experience teachers entered the district with. After that raise, new teachers entering Crook County with a master’s degree are earning $40,998 this year.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854,