Mobilized by by a call from Harford County Education Association President Randy Cerveny, more than 100 Harford County teachers crowded the Board of Education meeting Monday night wearing red shirts reading “Respect” and “Time.”
Word has been spreading in recent days about a possible two-day furlough for Harford County Public School employees, which may come in conjuction with 5 furlough days for Harford County government employees.
Two of the speakers tried to address contract issues, one mentioned furloughs on Monday night, but were reminded by the Board of Education that the topic of furloughs could not be discussed.
Despite the gag-order, teachers were still able to get their point across, through their sheer presence and emotional testimony.
“I wish I didn’t have to bar tend to love teaching in Harford County,” said one local teacher, who has to work both jobs to make ends meet.
Harford County Education Association President Randy Cerveny was among the crowd and spoke of the 2,000 members of his organization. At one point, he asked all the teachers in attendance to stand.
Cerveny cited the state’s #1 ranking in education, Harford County’s top test scores and asked all of the t-shirt clad teachers in the audience to stand. Turning to the members of the school board he said: “These are the people who are responsible for your success.” Cerveny went on to say that teachers would like board members to be more present in the schools and that teachers “do not feel appreciated right now”. He said teachers wanted to do their best but needed more time, listing some of teachers’ newer responsibilities and saying that programs are often added without teacher input and are piled on without replacing older ones.
Also Monday night, the Board of Education voted nearly unanimously to transfer $10 million in county fund appropriations from the planned Red Pump Elementary School project to instead fund the proposed Campus Hills Elementary School.
During the roll call vote, board member Allison Krchnavy took a good, long pause before finally announcing she would abstain from the vote.
The vote simply makes the school system budget request comport with the unamended budget of County Executive David Craig, which at present includes funding for the Campus Hills Elementary School. Craig has said in public, however, that he intended to amend his budget to reflect the Board of Education’s support of the Red Pump Elementary School.