Steps for Negotiating Reimbursement and Stipends at the Local (district) Level for Teachers Achieving National Board Teacher Certification. 

The following is a suggested step by step methodology teacher leaders can use to get their association membership reimbursement for National Board Certification. This language will also address annual stipends for those members who achieve National Board Certification. 

Establish your member profile

  • Start the process by reviewing your salary guides to identify the percentage of your staff members with advanced degrees. This percentage is a strong indicator to both parties about the professional development growth through advanced degrees in the district.
  • Review your district tuition reimbursement policies. Should the district have existing language that is generous to the membership already in place this will;
  • Determine the manner by which you draft reimbursement language for National Board Certification. In this situation one would look to structure the reimbursement terms adopting in part, the current language for reimbursement.
  • Help the leadership to determine if stipends already exist that have “life of the certificate” terminology.
  • Identify the current percentage of the allocated tuition reimbursement dollar that is being used on an annual basis. Calculate it for the life of the contract. Boards of Education have a tendency to  diminish or cap this pool of money, especially if the membership is not taking advantage of this benefit.

Educate your negotiating committee members on the benefits of their members achieving National Board Certification.

  • You want to go to the table as an informed group, and having a National Board Certified teacher to present the benefits and the process to your team is a great start. Some teams like to have a NBCT with them at the table on the night they will go over the proposed language.

Research other like-districts that offer district based reimbursement and stipends for teachers achieving National Board Certification.

  • Evaluate the value you are asking for in an annual stipend. NOTE: Start smaller in those districts with no history on stipends. Contracts are negotiated in 2-3 year periods. Be realistic in your valuation of the stipend. For example New Jersey has a 2% cap on the amount of property tax raised for education. Setting a value in the range of 2% of the teacher’s annual salary is a reasonable starting position.
  • Read all existing NBCT language in your state for existing district funded plans. This will help you to craft a more unique proposal that accommodates your specific circumstances. (model Language is provided)
  • It is critical that the BOE understands that a teacher has a three year window during which they can achieve National Board Certification. Contracts usually run in two-three year cycles, during which time board members may change and you don’t want to position your members for achievement yet no reimbursement. Advocating for NBCT reimbursement and stipends is perpetual at the local level.  

Sample Language Proposals (Agreed to by parties and now part of the current three year contract)

Additions   Article XII Professional Development and Educational Improvement

National Board Certification

  1. Advancement allowance for National Board Certification shall be equal to nine(9) graduate credits. Advancement allowance for National Board Re-Certification shall be equal to three (3) graduate credits.
  2. The District will pay for all application and assessment fees up to $3,000., to any employee achieving National Board Certification and upon presentation to the District the following documents; copy of payment for all application fees, copy of the candidate score report, and a copy of the NBCT certificate.
  3. Teachers successfully completing their National Board Certification shall receive an additional $1,200.00 per year for the life of the certificate, (ten-years) added to their salary.
  4. NBCT’s new to the district will receive a prorated adjustment to their salary.
  5. The district agrees to pay all costs associated with the successful renewal of National Board Certification for any NBCT employed by the district. The teacher must present to the District the following documents; copy of payment for all application fees, copy of the candidate score report, and a copy of the NBCT certificate.

Finally, you may want to address the future funding for those NBCT’s in the district that are renewing their certification. The language you draft should mirror the same out-of-pocket reimbursement you have in place for first-time NBCT’s.