a man and a woman shaking hands in front of a wall
Harry Russell, lead negotiator for the Monroe County School District, and Diana Walker, president of the United Teachers of Monroe, shake hands after a final contract negotiation session. MCSD/Contributed

The United Teachers of Monroe (UTM) and the Monroe County School District (MCSD) began contract negotiations for the upcoming school year in February to address compensation, benefits and evaluation. After 13 collective bargaining sessions, the two teams were able to reach tentative agreements, including new language as well as additional compensation for the two bargaining units.  

“We are pleased that your union and MCSD continue to negotiate fair and equitable compensation, benefits and working conditions for our employees in the bargaining units,” said Diana Walker, president of United Teachers of Monroe. “Their hard work and dedication to public education in Monroe County are the reason UTM will always strive to create better lives for our working families.”

“It is important that MCSD continues to offer competitive salaries for all of our employees so we can recruit and retain the best and brightest who contribute to an excellent education system that our stakeholders expect,” said Harry Russell, lead negotiator for the Monroe County School District.

“Congratulations to all the members of the UTM and district bargaining team led by Harry Russell,” said superintendent Theresa Axford. “Their thoughtful negotiations led to a truly amazing salary improvement for all Monroe County employees. This is the first time in many years that employees complete the school year knowing what their salary will be for 2024-25. In addition, we can hire teachers throughout the summer with a starting salary of $62,100, which I believe will be the highest in the state. Kudos to all.”  

“I am proud of our district’s ability to work collaboratively with UTM and come to an agreement so quickly,” said school board chair Sue Woltanski. “By working together, we can continue to focus on what matters most: providing a high-quality education for our students.”

The tentative agreements were ratified by instructional and school resource personnel on May 21. The agreements will go before the school board for approval on June 11.  The contracts will become effective July 1, 2024, and last through June 30, 2026.