The Portland School Board on Tuesday night approved a two-year contract with the teachers union that includes a 2 percent cost-of-living raise and increases class time for students and professional development time for teachers.

Also Tuesday, the school superintendent released the latest test and performance data for the district, showing mixed results.

Starting in the 2015-16 school year, students will have an additional 20 minutes of class a day, creating a 6½-hour school day. The overall number of school days in the year will decrease to 178 days from 180 days, but overall students will be attending 46 additional hours of class over the course of the year because of the longer school day.

“The Portland Public Schools is a leader in the state with this increase in instructional time,” Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said in a statement. The state requires that students attend a minimum of 175 instructional days a year.

Also starting in 2015-16, teachers will get 180 more minutes of professional development time each week, creating a 7½-hour workday. But teachers will work fewer days overall – 183 – down from the current 187 days.

The president of the Portland Education Association said 84 percent of union members approved the contract.


“This contract continues our mutual commitment to working collaboratively to improve student achievement while maintaining a competitive compensation package for educators,” Suzette Olafsen said.

The agreement freezes salaries and step increases for the first year, with the exception of approved lane changes, and includes the 2 percent cost-of-living increase and step increases in the second year. Also in 2015-2016, the board’s cost sharing of any increase in health insurance premiums will be capped at 3 percent.

The school board vote on the contract was unanimous.

The latest test score data were released Tuesday as part of a new “District Scorecard” launched last year by Caulk that uses a baseline score averaging results from the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, and setting annual targets for improvements.

The 2013-14 data released Tuesday showed that for the grade 11 Maine High School Assessment tests, districtwide scores were up in math, writing and science, but down in reading. Statewide, schools use the SAT to test for math, reading and writing, and a state-designed test for science.

Districtwide, 39 percent of juniors were proficient – or performing at grade level – in math, up from the baseline average of 36 percent; writing scores were 45 percent proficient, more than double the 22 percent baseline result. Science scores were 34 percent, more than double the 16 percent baseline, while reading scores were 43 percent, down from 45 percent.


Results from the 2013-14 New England Common Assessment Program – or NECAP – tests show the districtwide results for third-graders declined slightly in both math and reading. Math scores indicated that 53 percent of students were proficient, down from 54 percent. Reading scores showed 61 percent were proficient, down from 62 percent.

The NECAP results for fifth-graders showed that math scores remained static at 58 percent proficiency; reading scores improved slightly to 74 percent proficient, up from 73 percent; and writing scores increased more significantly, to 56 percent proficient from 49 percent.

The NECAP results for eighth-graders showed declines in math, reading and writing. Math scores declined to 50 percent of students proficient, compared to the baseline of 59 percent; reading declined to 72 percent from 76 percent; and writing scores declined to 56 percent from 62 percent.

Statewide NECAP scores are usually released in the spring by state officials.

The complete Portland District Scorecard – including results for various categories of students including race and socioeconomic status – is available online.

Noel K. Gallagher can be contacted at 791-6387 or at:

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