Proposed Budget Would Cut HCPS Salaries by Two Percent in 2011

Harford County Public Schools employees will see a salary cut of nearly two percent overall next year under Superintendent Robert Tomback’s proposed fiscal year 2011 budget, a response to increases in fixed costs and the current poor economy.

Tomback first presented his proposed budget at a Board of Education meeting on Dec. 21, but the salary cuts were not noted in his brief public remarks. The narrative portion of the 526-page budget document clearly states that no wage increases are included in the proposal, but the across-the-board salary cuts are not discussed. The cuts were discovered when The Dagger identified reductions in individual line items.

In an e-mail to The Dagger, Tomback said the cuts were not part of the narrative portion of the budget because the reductions “are subject to the collective bargaining process.” Tomback said that his compensation, which is determined by a contract, could be cut along with that of other staff if the school board chooses, but did not specifically say whether it would be cut under his proposed budget.

Under the contract he signed last June, Tomback is scheduled to start FY 2011 with a base salary of $190,000, plus a potential bonus of up to 10 percent.

The cuts were confirmed late Monday by school system spokeswoman Teri Kranefeld in response to questions about an unexplained reduction in a line item for instructional salaries. Kranefeld estimated the reductions at nearly two percent for HCPS employees overall.

The superintendent’s total, unrestricted operating budget request for fiscal 2011 is $417,525,509, unchanged from the current fiscal year. Increases totaling $11.4 million in health insurance, retirement, utilities and other fixed costs, along with the tough economic climate led to the decision to cut salaries.

The budget document offers the following explanation:

“In response to this challenge, all areas of the budget were examined with an emphasis on preserving critical programs related to student achievement, creating greater efficiencies in all operating areas, and making difficult decisions on cost reductions that would least impact students.”

Randy Cerveny, who represents HCPS teachers as president of the Harford County Education Association, told The Dagger he was “really surprised” to learn of the salary cuts. Cerveny said that he had reviewed the narrative portion of the budget document, but he hadn’t seen the salary cuts.

“It makes no sense why they would keep this secret,” Cerveny said. “Who are they trying to fool?”

But enactment of the superintendent’s proposed budget is far from assured. First, the budget is subject to change depending on actual funding levels, and must clear a series of approvals, before becoming final in late June. Second, any change to salary levels are subject to negotiations between the school board and the five employee associations which together represent all HCPS employees.

Public hearings on the superintendent’s proposed budget are scheduled for Monday, Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. and Sat., Jan. 16 at 9 a.m. at the HCPS Administration Building in Bel Air. Board work sessions, where changes to the budget would be considered, will immediately follow each of the public hearings. The school board plans to vote on the budget proposal at a special business meeting planned for Tues., Jan. 19. All meetings are open to the public.

Once approved, the superintendent’s proposed budget becomes known as the board’s Recommended Budget, which will be submitted to Harford County Executive David Craig on Feb. 8, according to the budget document. In late March, Craig is expected to release his proposed funding levels for county organizations, including HCPS. The school board will then make any necessary adjustments before the Recommended Budget is sent to the Harford County Council for a vote in late May. Final board approval of the budget follows in June, prior to the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Here’s the full text of Tomback’s e-mail to The Dagger, with the verbatim questions posed to him in italics:

Across-the-board salary cuts for all HCPS employees are not specifically mentioned in your proposed budget document; nor were they included in your public remarks introducing the budget on Dec. 21. We’ve had some reaction that this was an attempt to hide the proposed cuts, at least initially. Do you have a response?

As part of the budget process, we will be reviewing the proposed budget with the Board on Monday, January 11th, at the budget work session. At that time, Board members will begin their deliberative process in order to reach a final budget. The Board will review and adopt a budget of their own and submit it to the County Executive, who, following review, will then submit it to the County Council.

Can you explain why you chose to summarize some budget actions (i.e. hiring bus drivers, increased health care costs) in your comments and in the budget document, but not the salary cuts that will affect every HCPS employee?

The reductions to salary categories are not automatic. There are various ways to realize cost reductions, many of which require collective bargaining. The salary reductions were not explained in the narrative because they are subject to the collective bargaining process.

Will the 2% cut affect your own compensation?

If the Board chooses a process by which my compensation would require a reduction, then I would absolutely be included.

Comments

  1. DW says

    I guess I’ll have to pick more OT to make up for my wife’s pay cut. I can’t complain too much…at least we both have secure jobs.

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    • Teacher says

      You can complain. Security is inherent in education; the politicians can’t live without it. We’re not lucky, we are qualified. We deserve our pay and a lot more. Don’t take this sitting down…

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      • Sandy says

        If the teachers’ union would agree to get rid of tenure we wouldn’t have to waste so much money paying bad teachers just to have good teachers clean up the mess. This is what happened to my son in 9th grade spanish at BAHS last teacher. That teacher is now at a different school ruining someone else’s 9th grade spanish education while the 10th grade spanish teacher has to teach 2 years in 1. Get rid of tenure and we could fire bad teachers and pay the good ones what they are worth. Also, teachers should be paid what they are worth, not by how long they have been teaching.

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        • Realist says

          I like the idea behind what you say. I would just worry…what tool would you use to grade good teachers? A test? If so, would scores be applied evenly or would poorer performing schools be allowed to report lower grades, in comparison to an already successful schools, in order to receive the merit pay?

          How would you rate fine arts teachers? Physical Education?

          I would be for merit pay if there were a fair way to evaluate the term “good” and apply it to all areas fairly.

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          • Sandy says

            Just like any job, I would use their boss’s, the principal’s, evaluation. It may not be perfect, but it’s the way most businesses operate. It could always be appealed if there was a problem, but I feel pretty confident that the principals know the quality of their teachers.

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          • Fred says

            Sandy,

            What should one do if the principal has it in for a particular teacher? I know from personal experience that a bad principal can ruin a good teacher’s life. They can write anything they want and the central office believes it, so the teacher is screwed regardless of how good they are. It is
            turned into a personal issue by the principal and the principal usually wins.

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          • Sandy says

            Fred, just like in the real world. It sucks, but that’s the way the world works. There would have to be an appeal process and the teacher could certainly ask the parents for letter’s of recommendation, but sometimes life isn’t fair.

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          • biased says

            the problem with the evaluations/ inspections/ promotions/ demotions/ and or merrit based pay is bias. after working in the schools for twenty years, the things you see, is not the best person or the smartest or the hardeest working, its biased based on how you look, your race, and who you know.

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          • Sandy says

            biased, do you not think it works like that in the real world? Are you asking for something special, like tenure, to have an advantage over the rest of the work force? You are forced to work 6.6 hours days, you are forced to work 185 days a year. My husband, on the other hand is self employed. He gets no health insurance at all, generally works 60 hours per week, gets no vacation, and 6 holidays from his client right now.

            How do you think evaluations happen in the real world? Do you think they are always fair?

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        • Concerned says

          I am a high school teacher who becomes more disturbed every year with what my incoming freshmen do not know, especially students in my lower level classes. I believe that schools all over the country are lowering the bar so that all students will pass instead of raising the bar to fully challenge students at all levels. The only difference in curriculum between an honors and cc class should be the pace.
          What happens to students who do not pass classes in elementary and middle school? They are often simply moved to the next level to become another teacher’s problem. In school reform, we must look at our teachers, our students, our parents, and society at large to change values about education from the bottom up. We also must not allow current teacher training programs to continue accepting mediocre students who then become mediocre teachers. Teachers who do not enjoy learning and reading, (whatever subject taught) must also be removed from the profession.

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          • Pavel314 says

            The reason for this is obvious but we’re not allowed to admit it. If you require that students actually learn something in class, there are those who will fail. The failure rate will be higher among black students. Since this contradicts the dogma that all groups are equal, that means that the education system is flawed. So the powers that be tweak the system so that everybody gets passed on, regardless of whether they actually learned the material.

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          • Concerned says

            Pavel,

            Why would black students do any more poorly than whites? I believe our larger problems stem from special education populations who are identified early on and receive accomodations such as human readers and scribes. If students don’t read, they will not get better at it. In Harford County, at my high school at least, this subset of students is the one on which our school improvement efforts most focus because this is the group that’s closest to not passing the HSAs. I believe teachers treat special ed students differently and lower their expectations for them instead of raising the bar.

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          • Cdev says

            Some Special Ed students do need those accomadations; but I agree that they are over given to those that do not need them. Retention is most effective in grades k-3 beyond that point studies show it generally fails to work. I don’t think it is a white black thing it is a rich and poor thing. Blacks do make up a larger segment of those below the poverty level.

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        • custodian*mom says

          thank you its the same for custodians in the two years ive worked for HCPS ive had great attendance great evaluations and four perfect inspections in a row but my co worker who calls out on average 2 to4 days a month and has been on probation for several years makes about five thousand more a year than i do because hes been here longer raises should be based on your work preformance

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          • IDEA says

            ive seen alot of people in the school system who have been there for over 30 years, make them retire, bring in people at a starting salary thats cheaper then someone whos been here 35 years whos milking the clock, bring insome people with life, new people paying into the pension system, to preserve our pension. There is also people who take advantage of the health benefits and sick benefits, we need to investagate lost time accidents, and those who are fabricating a story to release them. we need to hold everyone accountable, however at some schools there standards are much higher then others we need uniform policys in place to ensure that we are recieving maximum results and that the taxpayers are getting what they deserve. If the qualifications requires certain education we need to have the people in those positions that meet and or exceed those, not people who do not meet the minimum requirements. the taxpayer deserves better. Ive seen people in the system who have been there for years who have below standards work, year after year, people who dont work, people who dont show up to work, we need to eliminate theese people period they are abusing our tax dollars.

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          • spending says

            Spending, I think that each and every item recieved into schools needs to be inventoried, and accounted for, there needs to be committees who looks at the needs of the operation and evaluate weather or not this item is feasable, is it the most cost effiecient
            product? is this item we are buying needed? are we just satisfying some principals or execs obsessive compulsave shopping habbits. what im saying is we can probably cut a milion dollars out of each and every school. what is the cost of maintaining the items we buy? is this adding more work or creating jobs? did we look at the best vendor or someone who is giving us kickbacks. we need to run theese schools like businesses, let the teachers teach and have the operations managers be accountable for the spending. parents ask your principals for a school budget/ get to know where your money is going

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          • to IDEA says

            In response to IDEA to suggests that veteran teachers retire….it is a shame that in your experience you’ve seen them “milking the clock”. My father, who is in his 35th year of teaching, is one of the most dedicated teaches I’ve ever seen. He is there well before school and stays for hours afterwards (by the way the 2nd year teacher who is in his department can barely wait until the teacher bell rings!!) He enjoys teaching, and he wasn’t considering retirement at all until this 2% came. It is something to consider since it will have an impact on his pension. While I understand the money aspect that a new teacher is cheaper, you may not be getting a BETTER teacher!

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      • speak up says

        its time for the teachers, bus drivers, secretarys, cafe workers, para educators, custodians, and facilitys workers to unite as one lets all come out to the budget meeting jan 11th at 630 pm at headquarters, lets bring our thoughts and ideas together to come up with a plan so everybody wins. Talk to your unions, get support, bring a friend. also look at your elected officials in office let them know how important this is to us, and how it will affect our children. lets come out and show our spirit.

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      • Union meetings says

        Many of you out there ask yourself, what does a union do for me? why should i pay someone to speak for me? or the statement that i here quite often is the union doesnt do anything. Let me just say a few things first of all attend your meetings get to know your shop stewards, understand how your union works because the truth is The union uses your dues to hire lawyers, to negioate your health benefits, to bargain for all of your benefits, BY law the schools does not have to pay for benefits, this is something that somebody has fought for, The school system does not have to give you pay raises, this is something that someone fought for. So ask yourself this question am i replaceable, you better believe it, and in a heartbeat they will. The unions power is with its members. the more members we have, that shows the elected officals that we mean business, we have the numbers to endorse them or boot them out. So just think about this, they take 2 percent away whats next our benefits our pensions.. Just get out there and attend your meetings, bring a co worker, and lets get the ball rolling.

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    • custodian local2471 says

      as a custodian working for harford county public schools, i speak for myself as well as others in my field, we make very very little money. My job requires me to Clean the building, wax floors, disenfect blood born pathogens, I protect the school wile students and visitors use the building, i ensure the safety of our children, respond to alarms at all hours of the night, as well as emergency situations, I take care of the heating and ventalation, boiler systems, the upkeep of the grounds, assemble desks, move heavy bulky furniture, and all other tasks assigned, I can not afford a pay cut, let alone no pay raise, myself and other custodians take pride in our work and give 100 percent each day, to support the needs of the school system, I along with many others must work another job to make ends meet. Please consider who your effecting when you cut our pay.

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      • custodian*mom says

        i know after benifets taxes and retierment is taken out i can barely afford to take care of my 2yr old i wish the big wigs would realise how devastating a 2% cut would be to me and several others

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    • no raise says

      What no raise means for me. well since i am already working at poverty level, i will continue to work 80 hours a week, so that i can live.

      I will not have the funding this year to do the following:

      work off the clock(because i care for the safety of the children)
      if there is a repair after hours i gotta leave it for the next day

      I have no money to buy tools out of my pocket( this is things that the school system cant afford.) with out theese tools things will remain broken.

      comming in early to do preventive maint

      LOOK IF WE CUT THE PAY THE SCHOOLS JUST LOST A HVAC JOURNEYMAN , master plumber, and engineer and the payscale is 20,000 to low as it is

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      • vietnam vet says

        Look on the bright side. You have health insurance second too none. Holiday’s with pay. your still able to work. The V.A. has cut the emergency room services trying to up the co pay’s on medicine.

        Social security recieved No! cost of liveing raises.

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        • a former teacher says

          I can attest to the wonderful health insurance as a former teacher. My husband’s self employed so we do pay for our own insurance…it’s pretty good, but not nearly as good as the HCPS insurance we had before. I do need to correct one comment. Teachers are not paid on holidays. They are contracted for 180 days w/students plus (I think) 10 professional days. A lot of people mistakenly believe that teachers are paid on holidays, on snow days, and during the summer…not the case.

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          • vietnam vet says

            I stand corrected.but my issues were with the employee Custodian etc. They get payed Holiday’s.

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        • no raise says

          we do have paid holidays, however thats not the issue, the issue is the PAY it is below average for custodians, and they are not using the right survey to compare our duties to other things, I am a stationary engineer, a Hvac troubleshooter, i clean, i secure the grounds, I risk my life everyday comming into a building with alarms going off i ensure that fire safety and sprinklers are working, i ensure that blood born pathogens, and contaminants are not exposed to your childreen, I set up for your concerts, I mow and use the grounds equipment, when its my day off i come in and clear the sidewalks, and emove snow from the roof to ensure that your children can come to school, so that the teachers can teach, so the the leaders can lead. Do not cut are pay!!!

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          • Sandy says

            no raise, not sure if this applies to you, but it does apply to some custodians. You all are also there to support our rec council programs, we couldn’t have a rec council without you all. Yes, I’m sure it’s some OT or something, but we need you for more than school events. The rec council sure appreciates the custodians!

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  2. Chai Tea Party Member says

    Let me just get this out of the way now,

    “Those teachers need to stop complaining, everyone is taking paycuts.”

    “Get a real job, where you have to work all year round.”

    “Good, they are nothing but overpaid babysitters anyway.”

    “They will make what we tell them and teach what we tell them and then I will complain and sue if I dont like it.”

    Ok, Just thought I would sum up all of the major comments that are about to happen on this page. Carry on.

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    • Soccer mom says

      Are you really that uneducated or just lacking in good manners. You lack of edcuation shows in your words …. Keep talking prove my point!

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      • Teacher says

        Let it go. Sometimes the ignorant just like to hear themselves rant. It’s because no one else will listen…

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    • diva says

      Where you live they might be overpayed babysitters but our teachers here work very hard and its not just the teachers who will be affected. Custodians who work all summer long will get the cut also. Its all HCPS workers. Paraeducators who barely make enough to be considered over poverty level are going to have their pay cut. It may not seem like a big thing to you but people who have mortgage, children to take care of, and want to eat need their money. Before you judge other people, maybe you take a step back and see if you are qualified to do such.

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    • Phil Dirt says

      Take a deep breath and relax! Some of you folks seem quite defensive. I read Chai’s message as coming from someone who does not believe the statements, but was simply anticipating the usual inputs from the masses.

      However, as someone who has never received a cost of living increase and has lived under a salary freeze and reduction in benefits for the past two years, I do think that some sharing of the pain is inevitable.

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      • Chai Tea Party Member says

        Thanks Phil,

        I am a teacher and often read this blog and knew what was coming. Attempting a little humor to diffuse what I am sure is about to be a very contemptuous budget debate.

        Guess I should Cross sarcasm off of my list of humorous tools to use.

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        • Anne B says

          I knew exactly what you meant….I found humor in it. Others should try a little harder….and know what you were trying to convey. hahahah

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        • Megan M says

          There have not been payraises or cost of living for how long? I’d take a furlough instead of 2 percent, at least its nothing for nothing, it won’t effect my retirement and I won’t be an additional 2 % behind next year! You know once its gone, its gone forever!! How can Craig ask for 9% and want us to cut by 2%, without any cola last year we’re already severly behind. Don’t give me guff about being “lucky” at having a job, I love what I do and work a good 60 hour work week, buy no one wants to feel unappreciated!

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        • Concerned says

          Chai,

          I too enjoyed your humor. Thank you for writing those comments; when we do this we take the sting out of them when people who truly mean them write them.

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    • Ryan Burbey says

      What you don’t seem to understand is that we already do work year round. What’smore we are required to contiue our education. “The future of empires is built on the educatin of its citizens” Aristotle.

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  3. Larry says

    Unfortunately, many people are currently dealing with reduced salaries in the workplace. It is not an easy issue whether employed in the public or the private sector.
    I find it disturbing that it appears that those who will be affected by the potential salary reduction are left by HCPS to either figure it out on their own by reading and auditing the 526 page buget, or have the Dagger figure it out and let them know in time for them to make public comments at upcoming BOE meetings before the proposed budget is finalized.

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    • F.C. says

      “Tomback is scheduled to start FY 2011 with a base salary of $190,000, plus a potential bonus of up to 10 percent”.
      Wow! If teachers and administrators do their jobs well for less money Dr. Tomback gets more money! He should probably start buying lots of thank you cards in preparation or maybe he can deduct another 1% for stationary costs.

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  4. J.G. says

    I know that many people are taking pay cuts and the economy is bad, but there have to be other places to cut and some salaries that can be cut without affecting the students. There are few other careers that require as much continuing education, responsibility, and hard work as teaching does. How can teachers continue to provide a strong education for their students if they cannot provide it for themselves?

    The district of this county is so large that the people sitting in the offices, who do the least to impact students’ productivity, take home the largest paychecks. Why cut salaries across the board? HCPS did not give cost of living increase nor a step increase last year, and that we can deal with. Making less, however, will negatively affect everyone involved.

    HCPS administration simply needs to figure out what their bottom line is. If education is truly the priority, then they have to realize that taking money away from the true educators will not help with the state of education in general. There has to be a better way to go about saving money.

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    • justthinking says

      Very nicely said…amazing how those of us who do the grunt work day in and day out are subject to cuts, however, those far removed from the realities of the day to day school environment take home the most money.

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      • Sandy says

        Maybe those in upper management should take a larger pay cut, or our new superintendent should reevaluate which jobs are really needed. What’s more important, extra management, extra AP’s, or extra teachers?

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      • Proud Teacher says

        Please know that administrative pays are tied to teacher pays- they get a raise based upon our raises. Logic (I know, dangerous here!) dictates that any pay reduction to teachers will also be a pay reduction to administration.

        But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!

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  5. Teacher says

    It’s disturbing that the decision makers don’t understand how dissatisfied teachers wouldn’t have an “impact on students.” Yes, we are lucky to have jobs in this economy but that doesn’t mean we should be devalued. That is exactly what this proposal does; shows how really unimportant teacher satisfaction is to politicians. The waste in schools is unacceptable. I do not believe that corners could not be cut in less vital areas. The future of this nation rests upon the successful education of its youth. Steps to hire and retain highly qualified educators are being placed lower and lower on the list of importance. It’s no wonder our young people are so unprepared for the real world. It’s far past the time for this country to realize that its youth is in our care 7+ hours a day. You expect us to produce educated, civic minded, ethical and responsible citizens and we are doing our best to do that. Aren’t we worth 2%?

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    • Braveheart says

      Teacher,

      If you can’t understand that, “you can’t spend what we don’t have”, then you shouldn’t be teaching our children.

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      • Teacher says

        You sound like a business minded person. I’m sure you understand allocation of resources. And investments that yield positive results. Nothing is free. Quality education costs. Find the money from other places or don’t complain about the quality of the product. Don’t like the crime, poverty and apathy in this country; well you get what you pay for. And by the way, if you think the money “doesn’t exist” you are very naive. It does. Just not for us…

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        • Megan M says

          This county’s motto is it “It gets a bang for its buck!” Harford County is notorious for wanting more and giving less to education in terms of funding. In the last 20 years the budget was funded 100% I think only once. The new motto of Harford County should be “You get what you pay for!” The county has priorities is it’s children one of them?

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          • Sandy says

            Megan, a little more than half of Harford County’s budget goes to the school system. I don’t think that is unreasonable. The problem is how the BOE allocates the money. And how the Federal Gov’t regulations forces rules on us that are not benefitting our kids. We could save a lot of money if we got rid of the Dept. of Education.

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          • Joseph Caruso says

            Teach and Megan M -

            Are Harford County taxpayers supposed to believe we have been getting prudent spending by the HCPS/BOE?

            Are you suggesting that in order to achieve better results Harford County taxpayers need to give HCPS/BOE more money?

            The way I understand it today the budget itself is a thin tissue of lies since line item department allocation of funds at the time the budget is approved are arbitrarily re-allocated after-the-fact without an accountable budget exception process with checks and balances. In other words the HCPS/BOE funds are not spent as directed by the “approved” budget.

            Joe

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        • Sandy says

          Teacher, it sounds as if you are going to refuse to do your best work unless you get what you want. I hope you don’t plan on making the kids suffer for something that is beyond their control. Those are the kinds of teachers we don’t need.

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          • Realist says

            Getting rid of the Department of Education…now there is a great idea! Unfortunately, it will be around when you and I are both long gone!

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          • Concerned says

            I hope I speak for all teachers when I state that I personally will continue to work diligently to provide my students with the best education. I will, however, be less likely to attend silly meetings that do little to help my students learn. PLCs, faculty meetings, department meetings — don’t look for my enthusiasm or buy-in there. Teachers care about their students; punishing students for policies outside of their control is not the answer. Students (especially high schoolers) will, however, recognize that their teachers are dissatisfied and that will affect the classroom environment.

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          • Sandy says

            Concerned, then it is time for you to step aside and let someone else do the teaching. My son went to a very negative elementary school, where you could just tell the teachers didn’t want to be there. The first day home from middle school he was amazed at what it was like to be in a school with a positive environment where the teachers wanted to be there. Please, don’t discount the effect this has on the kids. My son is as unobservant as they come and was amazed that there were teachers that didn’t hate kids. I’m not exaggerating this. Don’t teach unless you really want to do it. The parents will fight for you, but only if you deserve it.

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          • Cdev says

            Sandy Most teachers don’t want to hurt kids but to pretend for a moment this will not psychologically effect the work force and their enthusiasium is blind.

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          • Concerned says

            Sandy, I think you misunderstood my comments when you posted that I should step aside. I love what I do and will continue to teach as long as I feel that I myself am still an enthusiastic learner. (How can I ask my students to love my subject if I stop loving it?) My comments referenced the trainings and extra unpaid duties that have nothing to do with a successful classroom. For example, Harford County teachers attend many in-service trainings that many feel are worthless. Spending three hours listening to a textbook representative when the teachers themselves have no input into the text they use is an example. That’s the work of which I speak when I speak of the work I will be less likely to do. I simply wanted to clear up any confusion about my work ethic towards my students caused by your comments. Thanks!

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          • Sandy says

            Concerned, with the amount of time my kids are forced to waste because of HCPS rules, I could only imagine the amount of time teachers are forced to waste. Thanks for explaining, I agree with you. And I could guess who the biggest time waster is….

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      • diva says

        I understand they say they don’t have it but if politicians can get paid what they want and athletes get paid astronomical salaries then who is to say that teachers aren’t just as important. My daughter still talks about teachers who influenced her life and I still remember ones that stood out to me and made me see the creativity I had. If you think you could teach your children better then perhaps you should quit your job and homeschool them.

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        • Braveheart says

          Diva & Teacher,

          First of all – don’t try to label me as someone that doesn’t appreciate the good work of educators and our Harford County School system in general. My wife and I have been big contributors in terms of time and money to each. Part of a school system is the parents that support it.

          The education system is simply bloated and has become overly burdensome due to Federal requirements, MD’s good old boy politicians, irresponsible politicians, “the teacher’s union” (what a joke), and a general lack of awareness by taxpayers. We the taxpayers have allowed this giant to occur – roughly 50% of our County budget.

          Well the free lunch is over for Federal, State, and Municpal employees. Open your eyes and look at all the liberal states that are simply going bankrupt – especially California and New York. As you will all see – unless the Fed continues to “print money they don’t have” – it really doesn’t exist.

          Diva – They would get a better education at home in a fraction of the time. I wouldn’t need to baby sit all the discipline problems that the School System (and our liberal Society)lacks the balls to deal with.

          Teacher – don’t forget to educate your students that the USA is built on Christian values & capitalism and most importantly nothing in the constitution entitles anyone to someone else’s money. Obviously you have forgotten that or maybe you were never taught those values.

          Diva – if you could sing and looked like Beyonce you’d get paid as well. Who said that life was fair?

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      • Ryan Burbey says

        Unfortunately, it is not that the $$$ is not there. It is just being allocated to crucial items like office furniture and professinal conferences for central office administration.

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      • Teacher says

        Just a few quick examples. It is unbelievable how much paper is still used in school today. Cutting paper costs and transferring to digital would save money. Albeit not millions but its a start. Also, I realize budget for facilities is not the same as that for salaries but maybe some money allocated for the multiple new schools built over the last few years could be tranferred to salary budget. Another point, the budget document speaks of “preserving critical programs related to student achievement.” What are these critical programs? Why are they hidden? Where is the rational for them? Where is the data backing them up? Why is the budget such a highly guarded secret? What resource could possibly more critical to student achievment than qualified, dedicated and invested teachers? These questions need to be answered…

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        • Proud Teacher says

          Cut the money for after and before school programs, (interventions) and put that money into the school day.

          As for the budget being a secret, how can that be when it’s online for anyone with internet access to read?

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      • AJ Williams says

        More examples of waste. . .

        Does anyone know exactly how much money was spent clearing parking lots, walksways, and heating buildings etc. . . for that 1/2 day on the 23rd? Why not a full day at least? That would have been a little better. That just seems like an area where money could have been saved.

        Should we also discuss mentor teachers and instructional facilitators? Why am I being observed by someone who has never once taught in my discipline and who is unfamiliar with my curriculum?

        How much money has been spent on math in Harford County in the last five years? Seriously, it’s the one discipline that doesn’t change and yet my students have had their math program changed at least twice complete with new books. It’s not that I’m initimating that math isn’t important, I’m just suggesting that maybe HCPS should not replace curriculum so quickly.

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        • DW says

          Having school on 12/23 was a complete waste of everyone’s time and money just so they could save a snow day for later in the year that they may not even need use the rest of the winter.

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          • Veteran Teacher says

            Services provided directly to students and directly to teachers who serve students should not be the things that are cut in a budget. Cuts should begin OUTSIDE of the schools. It isn’t necessary to evenly distribute the cut; we can’t make decisions based on what is fair to employees when everything we do in education is (and should be) based on what is RIGHT and GOOD for children. Children first– always.

            In response to your comment about Mentors and Instructional Facilitators, I can only share that those positions in my school are essential– and those individuals are as hard working as the teachers, even if they are doing a different job than the teachers. some of what they each do is tremendously transparent, and other things are behind the scenes. But, having worked in the county before the invent of those positions, I can tell you that things get done in support of professional learning and student learning that NEVER happened when I was a new teacher. Mentors are engaged in planning with teachers, assisting with lessons, and helping teachers be reflective enough to improve their professional practice– which certainly impacts student learning. Mentors are non-evaluative, and while they may be generalists, that doesn’t mean they are not capable of promoting teacher and student learning. The latter is also true of IFs, who can and should be networking and accessing Content Area Supervisors for their expertise in content. If that support isn’t happening in your school, talk to your principal, but I highly recommend that you hold your tongue publicly when proposing chopped positions! You probably don’t have a global view of what those postions entail across the county. Like teachers, strong instructional leaders are essential– and the evaluative process, not the budget, should be the thing that promotes growth and/or weeds out ineffective professionals as needed.

            On the other hand, I concur that there is excessive spending on lesser essential items, and that is a place to begin.

            Best regards,
            A Veteran Teacher

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      • Not from Here says

        When I read the headline in the paper, I thought I was going to read a story about cutting the administrative fat at the top of HCPS. For example: Why does the county need a gifted education coordinator when there is no gifted education?

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        • Tracy says

          There are gifted and Talented teachers in every elementary school and elementary school students recieve gifted and talented education

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          • justamom says

            I lived in a district that had true Gifted and Talented education, when we moved here, my son was not selected to receive “enrichment” even though he was in a G&T school in our previous district. He was placed in G&T because of his high scores on tests. HCPS does NOT have gifted education.

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          • Not from Here says

            There are enrichment teachers. Some of the title I schools have GT, but HCPS does not have a gifted education program. There is a difference.

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          • Not from Here says

            Ryan–Not sure what you are saying is not accurate, but even if you want to consider enrichment gifted education, it does not exist at the middle and high school levels in HCPS. Profoundly gifted students do not lose their giftedness when they hit sixth grade.

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            I know. My son currently attends a private school for this same reason. I could not get his zoned school to meet his needs despite directives from Dr. Haas. So, not only do I now pay $7,000 a year to educate my son but I am also expected to suck up another 2% loss.

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        • Proud Teacher says

          This comment will get everyone going I’m sure….

          The administrative layer at HCPS is so THIN it is beyond belief…to think that ONE person runs ALL science, one for social studies, 2 for math…for K-12~ That includes everything related to that content area. Years ago the fat was trimmed to the BONE and it is felt in schools- not enough curriculum support and summer curriculum and assessment writing (for 1/5 of the regular hourly pay) done by inexperienced teachers that are not even trained! The curriculum office could use *so* much more.

          And we DO have GT in schools, perhaps your darling didn’t meet the criteria set forth in their school. We get many students from other counties that “were in GT” and they really don’t warrant GT services. It’s upsetting to parents that assume “my child is gifted” – yet they are not. It really is in relationship to the population they are now learning with.

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          • justamom says

            In the district we came from a child qualified as Gifted if they scored above 130 on in WISC IQ test. I have yet to see anyone in HCPS tell me what “qualifies” a student for “enrichment.” An IQ of over 130 is the nationally recognized definition of gifted. IF HCPS had a gifted program they would use this type of standard to determine who is admitted to the program, not leaving the determination up to the enrichment teacher at the individual school. Giftedness has nothing to do with their learning population. But I understand that if the program is full, then a new student may not be admitted. Even a student who had the test scores to back him up. As an aside HCPS also doesn’t believe that learning disabled students can also be gifted, but that for another discussion.

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          • Not from Here says

            Students do not test into enrichment. In experience, the classes were filled with younger siblings of kids who had been in enrichment before–some bright–some even gifted–and some who had parents who whined, a lot. When my younger child was in kindergarten, he was pulled out for math enrichment. Since his sister had been formally tested through Hopkins and was identified as gifted, I asked the teacher if he had tested high on some test. Her response was no, he hadn’t, but she thought he might benefit from being out of the classroom and out of her hair. She was a lovely kindergarten teacher whose feet hurt and she was having a bad year.

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            No unfortunately we do not have GT in all schools. Similarly, what passes for GT in most schools does not coincide with research, best practices or comon sense. Similarly, the administrative level of HCPS is bloated. Look in the budget at how many assistant superintendants are on the payroll and what they make.

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    • F.C. says

      I agree. What about inclusion helpers and instructional assistants? They get paid so little to start. Love of the job only goes so far if you can’t pay the bills.

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  6. Unfaithful says

    It is completely unacceptable that the superintendant would try to hide a salary cut. Not mentioning this in the narrative is the same as hiding it. There is no way to try to spin that.

    One would think that a new superintendant would be much more careful about dealing with such a sensitive issue. If he thinks this is okay then maybe he should stay in Baltimore County instead of driving to Harford to deceive us.

    Perhaps he deserves the benefit of the doubt, however, someone at HCPS knew what they were doing. Either Tomback takes responsibility and apologizes or someone needs to be fired.

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    • Julie says

      He drives from Baltimore County and his car expenses are covered including monthly payments. Hmmm, teachers drive from all over as well….why aren’t ours?

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    • Elaine says

      I made a comment about his lack of narrative in the last story about the budget presentation. Two sentences and that was it. The people who hired him are the Board of Education. They had several other very qualified candidates and chose someone with no experience. Some of the Board also stated they had no problem with him living in Baltimore County (I think Alysson Krchnavy is on record stating such). Taxpayers are paying for his car and his mileage.

      What is wrong with looking at reorganizing and putting many “teachers” back in the classrooms. This whole other layer of administration has emerged over the past 10 years and didn’t exist before. Why are we paying teachers to sit behind desks and “administer” instead of “teach.” If they are so important then they should also be in classrooms teaching as well as administering like they do in many college environments.

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  7. Valhallan says

    My mother was a teacher, my sister works for the board of ed., and I have a daughter starting school in 2 more years. So yes, i think i qualify to speak on this subject. Fact 1) Satisfaction level of teachers WILL directly impact students. Fact 2) Teachers are historicly and notoriously underpaid when compared to other professions requiring the same level of education. So while other sectors may also be taking cuts, or have freezes on their salaries, if you are starting from a higher point, survival on 98% of what you used to make is easier, even if you are losing a higher actual dollar amount (100,000 – 2% = 98,000, but 10,000 – 2% = 9,800; which one can you live on easier?) that’s why a flat tax is not fair, and why a flat pay reduction isn’t either. Times are tight everywhere, but you’re talking about a group that was taking hits BEFORE the economy went south. Let the elected officials and the upper admin take a 4%, and maybe the teachers and lower payscales can take a 1%. I wonder how fast they could find the money to make up the difference then!

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  8. ex-GI says

    Maybe we should apply for one of the “incentives” or “economic stimulus packages” that have been given to auto makers. Heck, we only “produce” the future citizens, not some automobile that, if we’re lucky, will last 5 whole years!

    I wonder how much our HCPS would benefit from one of those stimulus packages?

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    • custodian*mom says

      my school got some of that money and it went to electronic whiteboards in all of the classrooms and im talking about an elementary school plus they had two different sets of contractors working on them one to run wires and one to install that seems like a waste of money to me

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    • Ryan Burbey says

      One would think in such tough economic time that HCPS would at least be taking advantage of the Title one funds which are available for at risk secondary schools.

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  9. JM says

    Are the paper-pushers at the board level, whose jobs do not impact my child’s education, going to receive the same reduction? If they are going to cut teacher pay, I should hope so. A supervisor, with the fat salary, should see a cut before the man/woman in the trenches should.

    Also…there are a lot of positions within each school that suck up a lot of dollars. Why does a school need a Master Teacher AND an Instructional Facilitator? From my understanding, both jobs are useless unless you have a new staff. And if that is the case, what happened to assigning a new teacher to an experienced one, to act as a mentor? Cut those two positions is a good way to begin trimming fat.

    The paper idea is great! While we are at it, make the one proposing the cuts pay for his car and gas.

    There are little ways, that add up to significant dollars, than can be cut before you start taking away from the one who is responsible for teaching my child.

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      • Tracy says

        they could also cut out the Everyday Math Program in the elementary schools….each child has 5 books for this math program. Why should an elementary school child have so many consumable math books that cost the county millions each year. There is one way to cut the cost. Each elementary school child has a Math Links Homework Book, 2 journals, a resource book, and 2 other consumable math books that go with the program…WASTE!!!!!!!!!!!!

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        • Experienced Educator, Citizen says

          I’m a math teacher at the high school level who has never – inspite of asking – been shown what Everyday Math at the lower grades is or does. That these kids will start arriving in high school next year unable to do traditional long division or multiplication is what I hear from their parents. How much is this program costing and what will it cost our children in the future. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do a polynomial long division problem – I wasn’t taught that way”.

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          • justamom says

            This is off topic, BUT a great video showing multiplication and division in Everyday math is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI. Yes, if you want to teach polynomial division, you’ll have to teach long division first. And don’t ask these students to saolve the quadratic equation without a calculator! I’m no friend of Everyday math, but then again I don’t like University of Chicago math either. Your job will be much tougher with the incoming Everyday math students.

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          • Tracy says

            your right…in every way possible…..the everyday math program lacks teaching kids basic math and is a terrible program. If you goole the program you will find one article after another that tells how Everyday Math fails children…yet the county has invested so much money into it…it is certainly failing my elementary school child. Thank goodness I sit with him and teach him the basics at home..otherwise he wouldn’t get it at school.

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          • Sandy says

            It’s more than Everyday Math. When they get to college and are expected to do calculus without calculators. Those calculators we spend about $100 for. And my daughter goes to a MD state school. Someone needs to get their act together and teach the kids what they need to know for a college education.

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          • Cindy Mumby says

            I’m interested in learning more about Everyday Math from a classroom perspective. The research appears inconclusive. The vast majority of the studies covered in the federal What Works Clearinghouse didn’t meet design standards. The few that did showed positive “potential” (not sure what that means) and more research is called for. I wonder what teachers who are using the program think, pro and con. I can also be reached directly (and confidentially) at cindy@daggerpress.com

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          • justamom says

            I have heard anecdotal stories of parents who taught their children long division, then when the student uses long division instead of the “approved” everyday math algorithm the teacher marks the problem wrong. I’m surprised there isn’t more research on Everyday Math. I do know many districts who adopted it have dropped it. Cecil County recently dropped it. I personally think that as long as the math MSA scores stay constant, no one in HCPS will look at dropping Everyday math.

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          • Tracy says

            I am a teacher in the county who uses Everyday Math and the reason behind the county (Math Supervisor) choosing it was becasue the program makes the kids actually explain in writing how they solve problems…WHO CARES!!!! as long as they have stratgies to help them solve the problems. If a child expresses a certain way to solve the problem and it works then that should be okay…Not with the Everyday Math program…it does not allow the students to do this. Now I am just stating what I have heard so this is not a fact but I heard that Pat Skebeck was not at all for this program…but we still got the program. I sat several summers ago for an entire week on the math curriculum committee where we spend all day everyday listening to texbook companies try to sell their curriculum. We chose a curriculum as a committee consisting of all elementary school teachers. We chose Mc Graw Hill…by the time school started, we were basically told our opinions did not matter and we were told that we were going with Everyday math…So we wasted a week of our time, although we got paid, basically for nothing. That is the kind of waste this county needs to stop doing…so now we have a math program that lacks teaching kids basic math while also wasting money on all the materials for each child that the Everyday Math program requires.

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          • justamom says

            This story points out what’s wrong with HCPS on so many levels. 1) Why were only Elementary educators making math curriculum decisions? Seems like Secondary teachers and a few from HCC might have relavant opinions about what should be taught at the elementary level. 2) Why did they only have a week to listen to the canned presentations from the textbook companies to make their decisions? Were they given time to do their own research, talk with other school districts about what works. Why was the timeline to make a decision so short given the importance. Why do the publishers get the only input? 3) Why was the committee decision over-ruled? And why was the final decision supported by central office.
            This illustrates the arrogance of central office when it comes to making decisions that will effect our children.

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    • JM says

      After re-reading the Dagger’s article, it APPEARS that those at the board will be taking pay cuts (Superintendent included?).

      My concern is that we keep packing more into a teacher’s work load, but now will be reducing the fruits of their labor. SURE, I know…teachers teach because they care about students and love to help students achieve success. Unfortunately, that doesn’t pay a mortgage. So…how do we entice our future teachers to consider teaching as a career choice if the pay/benefits keep taking hits?

      I worry because my sons are of elementary age…I would hate to lose our best teachers and/or our future educators to surrounding districts because our teachers don’t feel valued as professionals.

      I know the economy is tough and that money is tight. But there has to be ways of cutting enough fat to, at the very least, maintain current levels of pay.

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    • Cdev says

      Good point but in a school where the turnover is half the faculty you might need those positions. That said some schools don’t need those positions IMO.

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    • Chai Tea Party Member says

      Mentor Teachers are for new teachers and in schools with a large number of new teachers they are extremely valuable. Instructional facilitators work with all teachers whether 1st year or 35th year. The two positions do work together, but they are differing job descriptions and offer different services to the teachers.

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      • Proud Teacher says

        Wrong. Mentors work with ALL staff regardless of years served, but priorities are with the newest teachers. At times, the work of mentors are with the most seasoned teachers that may be having a difficult time. IFs also work with all teachers, but in an evaluative fashion, observing and evaluating.

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        • says

          Again, not disagreeing with you but if you are in a school with a large amount of turnover , the mentor teachers focus is on the newbies. While they do have other duties they main charge is first and second year teachers, assisting the IF with PD development, data analysis and Other duties as assigned. IF’s (good ones at least) work with teachers to improve instruction, not just observing and evaluating.

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    • Julie says

      In the past BOE employees are never effected by pay reduction. Teachers and other school employees carry the burden of balancing the budget from their salaries. I know this because I have been to the bargaining table.

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    • custodian*mom says

      one thing i have noticed during summer cleaning is that the teachers will throw away brand new school supplies or barely used ones and when they come back in the fall get a ton of new supplies that they end up trowing away the next year the teachers should have to ask around and see if anyone could use them or put them back in the office before throwing them out

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      • waste says

        there is a Ton of waste, should we be buying multi million dollar football fields/ and cable in everyclasroom/ and contracts with companys who just are not doing the job. we need to eveluate where every penny is being spent. and if we can aborb some of the things that we dont use, and maybe auction off or sell to the employees at a reduced price, lets put this in our “general fund” i think every school should present a budget and a physical inventory of every item, also frequency reports, so that we are not buying unnessacary items. this needs to be enforced at a state and local level and hold administrators accountable for the spending, we need to contract the best vendors, with the best prices, and look at the most efficient tools and resources. there is savings when buying in bulk, however if we are not getting the best prices, this is an in effective method.

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    • useless job says

      some of theese jobs in the schools, i do not know what they do, they do not work with children they do not teach anything, they do not repair anything, they sit in there office all day, they dont walk the halls, they dont discipline kids, why have theese people do nothing and make 70,000 +

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  10. Valhallan says

    At this point it is still a proposed budget. This is when our elected officials need to step up and say no, our constituents will not settle for this, and not approve the budget untill it works. Do I think any of them actually have the …. fortitude to do that? No, but this is when it SHOULD happen. In my opinion there are four essential services I expect from my local government, police, firemen and EMT’s for our safety today, an teachers for our future. beyond that, everything else is a luxury. Smooth roads are nice, but I’d rather deal with a pot hole then cut back on any of those 4, and I can’t think of any other service that I can’t say that about as well.

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    • Worried says

      I agree. And for those who question whether or not the cut was just on teacher salaries or everyone’s, it is everyone one in the system that will be hit with a 2% cut in salary. (ie. custodians, secretaries, nurses, Paraeducators, teachers, administrators, etc.)

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      • Anne B says

        ParaEd’s,Nurses,Custodians and Tech’s are going to need food stamps and welfare….if that happens. Someone should be paying attention to that result! Teachers need the Paraed’s these days….
        I hope someone is going to speak up for them!!!

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      • Worried says

        You can add secretaries to that list of people that will need food stamps. Secretary I’s & I’s starts out making less than and custodian.

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      • waste says

        we make to much for foodstamps, but we cant even afford an apartment. wile the top executives are drinking martinis

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    • Realist says

      I agree. Yes, the economy is bad…but let’s face it. There are some areas that need to be fully funded. Our children are our greatest resource and their education should not be “tinkered” with by a first year superintendent. To use the excuse “with the bad economy, we all need to sacrifice” sounds bold and patriotic, but I wonder what the uproar would be if teachers took the same route?

      What do I mean? What if teachers decided that two years of pay cuts (yes, last year was a pay cut. Same pay + increase benefit costs = pay cut)consituted that they work to the very letter of their contract? What if our teachers decided to follow the following guidelines:
      1. I will no longer be planning lessons outside of my duty day. Yes, I know that this means “canned” and unimaginative lessons for your children, but in this economy everone must make sacrifices.
      2. I will no longer grade papers outside of my duty day. Yes, I know it may mean weeks for tests and months for projects to be returned and you may not be receiving timely updates on your child’s progress…but in this economy, we must all make sacrifices.
      3. I will no longer sponsor clubs at my school. Yes, this hurts the children, but hey…in the this economy…
      4. I will no longer spend my own money to buy pencils and paper for my classroom. If your child does not come to class with them, they will now take a zero on the assignment and/or exam given that day. Yes, this is harsh. However, in this economy…
      5. I will no longer receive phone calls from parents outside of my duty day. If you need to speak with me, call during my planning period. If you cannot, then you should take a day off of work so that we can meet during my planning period. You may choose to e-mail me and I will read it when I get time. Do not expect a prompt response! I know that may be of an inconvenience, but in this economy sacrifice is essential.

      I could go on and on. Bottom line..it is easy to tell teachers to take the pay cut and be happy. But what if they cut their services and expected us to be happy? As a parent, I know how I would feel.

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      • Phil Dirt says

        If a teacher has no pride or sense of responsibility as a professional, then those are excellent steps to take.

        If you wish to place teachers in the role of “workers”, then those are excellent steps to take.

        Of course, the fact that teachers are members of a union and participate in collective bargaining means that they perhaps should not be held to the same standards as those considered true “professionals” in the classic sense of the word. When they choose to be defined as a group, their performance is viewed as the average of that group.

        When teachers are judged by their individual performances, and can be promoted or fired based on that, many more people outside the profession will be willing to support them and fight for more appropriate compensation for those who put out the effort to excel.

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        • Realist says

          Exactly. Teachers won’t do that because they DO have pride in what they do. But we should have pride in the excellent teachers that we do have and attempt to keep them from leaving the profession or moving to another district.

          Maybe I live in alternative universe. My children went through the school system, received great educations, and are successful adults. You make it sound as if the profession is full of individuals who should not be teaching. Grant you, there are some. But in my experience, those were the minority and every one (community and school based) knew who they were.

          So, perhaps your insinuation that pay be based on merit makes sense. But if so, where would such a broke school board get the money to pay these individuals? How would a county that apparently wants to cut pay, increase pay for those who deserve merit pay? Before we jump to that idea, we better have the funding for it.

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          • Phil Dirt says

            I and my children also went through HCPS, and like any other place of employment, there are good workers and there are bad workers. Unfortunately, although it is easy for employers to fire bad workers in an at-will state like Maryland, teachers are a protected class, which is a non-cash benefit that must be considered when tallying up the perks of the job.

            I am a supporter of the school system, but until there is a way to allow the best to rise and the worst to be canned, I cannot give my backing to any plan that exempts them from taking the same hit as countless other employees in the state. Maybe if the more professional of the profession would rise up against the status quo, they would see that the public is behind them and would see their hard work pay off.

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          • RavensRule says

            That is the reason why the BOE rolls over teachers with this. They count on the professionalism and pacifism of the teachers to get away with it. Until we stand up and say enough, and have the powers that be realize that the terms of their “adequate” personal services contract stinks, they will continue to treat teachers with zero respect and deception.

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          • Sandy says

            Realist, we could start by paying teachers who were not as good less and getting rid of teachers who didn’t belong at all. Just like in the private sector.

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          • Realist says

            Sandy…I can agree in principle to paying good teachers more. My main problem is, who defines the term “good?” Once defined, do we apply it evenly? For example, does “good” have the same definition at Edgewood High as it does at Bel Air High? Does it have the same meaning in Baltimore City as it does in Carroll County?

            If so…how do you figure in intangibles? Like what? My wife and I made sure our kids did their homework and studied every night. What about kids that don’t have the same support system? Whereas some schools may have only 5% with this demographic, we know that some schools have a much higher rate. So, how do you deal with this?

            What about a teacher who has students who dislike school with a blind passion? Despite what those Hollywood feel-good movies tell you, you are not going to make a kid like Algebra who sees school as an interruption in his day. How does this factor in? If teacher A teaches “general” courses, he is more likely to encounter this than the teacher working with college-prep level math. I am sure the Calculus teacher, which used to be an elective for the college bound when my kids were in school (is it still?), doesn’t see this as much as the freshman Algebra teacher. Would they be judged on the same scale?

            I guess I would like to see a formula where how good a teacher is can be combined with parental support and student investment. A teacher may work like hell to get a 50% pass rate, something that a teacher at another locale can achieve quite easily.

            I always saw education as a trinity…the teacher does their part at school. They teach the things that I don’t have the qualifications to teach properly. My wife and I had to do our parts at home (the teacher can’t make sure homework is completed!). And the kid had to be invested. Take away any one of these and you have a chance of failure. Together, success is almost always guaranteed.

            Sorry for my ramble…the workings of an old mind. But still, defining “good” needs to be completed carefully or good teacher won’t want to teach anywhere other than “good” schools.

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          • Sandy says

            Realist, as in the private sector, the boss (principal) would make the evaluations. Just like in the real world. I’ve spoken with enough principals, they know who their good teachers are!

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        • Cdev says

          Phil teachers are not members of a union and do not have collective bargining. The steps described above are the worst they can do.

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        • F.C. says

          So teachers should roll over because they have the right to organize? That makes them less of a professional? Did you know that teachers have to continue their higher education even after they are hired? Many teachers have more college education than some “true professionals”? Teachers are evaluated individually. I think the problem here is your own lack of knowledge on the subject.

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          • Phil Dirt says

            Yes, organizing and collective bargaining in any form does make them less professional. And yes, most of us know that teachers need to continue their education.

            I also know people who have many advanced degrees (I work in higher education) and while they are educated, there are some that I don’t consider to be as intelligent as some others who merely posess bachelor’s degrees.

            And thank you for diagnosing my problem, Dr. F.C. You are wrong, but the effort is appreciated.

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        • Julie says

          So you are one of the masses that believe “those who can_do and those that can_teach” Most teachers are more educated than the masses because we are required to continue our education beyond bachelors. We are professionals regardless of whether we are public servants.

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          • John says

            Well Julie, I do take exception to your statement “Most teachers are more educated than the masses”.

            Just because a person completes course work, earns degrees and credentials does not mean they are in fact more educated than the masses, average person or an illiterate.

            Now I suggest you take your pomposity and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

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          • DW says

            John, actually that would mean they are more educated than “the masses.” It doesn’t mean they’re more intelligent, but it does mean they’re more educated.

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          • Chai Tea Party Member says

            Thats exactly what I was saying.

            By the way: the name is a dig at the tea party, by no way am I a member or endorse there policies.

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          • Sandy says

            I don’t think I would use the word professionals. Yes, teachers have to continue coursework to keep updated. So do most professions. My husband works at 50% his normal salary everytime a new computer language comes out he has to learn. He can’t charge his regular rate until he knows it in and out, or it wouldn’t be fair. No one wants their system written in an “old” language. And no one wants to pay for a learning curve.

            Through volunteering at my kids’ schools I am shocked at how little the teachers know about computers (except at the SMA), and shocked at how little they know about current events and information outside of their curriculumn. With only a few exceptions. In most cases it isn’t confidence inspiring. When your 7 year old comes home and says you won’t believe what my teacher thinks “this word” means. Or when they come home with a spelling list to memorize and 4 of the 20 words are spelled wrong.

            My oldest daughter had a high school chemistry teacher who always lost the kids’ lab work. I talked to other parents to see if this was happening to other kids and it was. Then one day I had to pick her up from school because she had a bad asthma attack. Once the nurse and I had her breathing I walked with her to turn in 3 labs because they were due. I walked with her into the classroom, I watched her hand them to him, he commented on the baby-Is it a boy? UH no, didn’t you notice she is wearing all pink? Progress report time-she had 3 0′s on the labs. He insisted she didn’t turn them in. I was there, remember? Asthma attack, baby-all dressed in PINK. Oh, OK, she can do them over. OVER?? She already did them once. Happened all year……

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        • Tami says

          Your opinion that “workers” are not professionals is hogwash. As is your contention that participating in collective bargaining rules out being considered a true “professional”. As for any connection between “defined as a group” and “viewed as average of that group”, it makes no sense.

          Teachers are Workers. They complete all manner of tasks over the course of their days. I am a worker and a true professional. Collective bargaining has benefited me and my peers. I also happen to have advanced degrees but am wise enough to know that means nothing. My effectiveness at my job is based on my commitment and effort expended.

          Having student’s performance tied to teacher’s pay may sound great at first blush, but the reality is quite different. The poorest performing schools with the neediest student populations will suffer as a result. It is difficult enough to get teachers to work in Baltimore City, for example, and that would make it worse.

          In the Baltimore City school system there is a phrase for those very few teachers who do not perform well, who do not have a commitment to their profession, and who are clearly not motivated to do their jobs. It is “The dance of the lemons” and refers to the fact that the schools do not retain them for more than one year and allow them to be transfered to another school where they inevitably fail to perform and are passed along again the next year. They are ostracized by other teachers and made to feel very unwelcome. And, this is very important, they are very rare.

          In your profession are there really no people like that? They exist in all professions.

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          • Phil Dirt says

            I never said that teacher pay should be tied to student performance. Teacher pay should be tied to teacher performance. Student promotion should be tied to student performance.

            And I find the “dance of the lemons” to be ridiculous and insulting, not to mention unprofessional. How generous of a school to send an underperforming teacher to another school! And then they are ostracized by other teachers and made to feel very unwelcome. What a great lesson to pass on to our children.

            No, in my profession, people who do not perform well, who do not have a commitment to their profession, and who are clearly not motivated to do their jobs are fired, rather than passing the problem on to another place and lowering their performance and morale.

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          • Cdev says

            Phil a problem with Merit pay based on “teacher preformance” is you must assess the preformance which would require MORE administrators which we have complaind about.

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          • Sandy says

            Cdev, I disagree. Each school has a principal. That’s who should be doing the evaluating.

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          • Cdev says

            Let’s take an average middle school with 75 teacher’s figuring to do this properly he would need to sit in on 4 lessons minimum that would leave 300 observations to do a year or about 2 a day. Who will be running the school?

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          • Sandy says

            Cdev, While I disagree it would take that long each year, the assistant principals could certainly run the school with the principal on call.

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          • Cdev says

            Forgetting they too have observations and for every observation you have a follow up conference!

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        • Proud Teacher says

          Where on earth did you get the idea that teachers are not judged by their individual performance??? (That’s ALL they are judged on, on a daily basis!)

          Where did you get the idea HCPS holds on to its worse teachers? I’ve witnessed 3 go in the last 2 years from one nearby school!

          I’ve now finished 8 years of college. If I’m not in the professional rank by now, I don’t think a lack of tenure will magically make me one.

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        • Ryan Burbey says

          In a perfedct world you would be correct. However, in a perfect world teachers would always be fairly evaluated based on their dedication and performance. However, that is not the case either historically on a national level or today in Harford County. Read some Constitutional law about how teachers have been treated or talk to a teacher and ask about their negative experiences with evaluation and administration.

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      • Experienced Educator, Citizen says

        In addition, please do not expect the teacher to stay after his or her duty day to help your child with the suject matter. We will all have to get home to be ready to tutor children from other schools whose parents will pay us for our time. And that is what you will have to do for your child.

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        • F.C. says

          Phil Dirt- Since you seem to be so enlightened, what do you suggest teachers do to prove themselves to the masses and to “true professionals” like yourself?

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        • budgets says

          i have noticed that teachers spend many many hours off the clock, going unpaid, buying materials out of there pockets to support the needs of our children, in some instances the children live in such horrible conditions at home they do not have electric, or even running water, the teachers and staff come together to get theese children the help they need, what im saying is the teachers spend countless hours not getting paid, they do not deserve a pay cut. some of the best teachers will leave. if we really value our children then we will support teachers and staff raises, because the entire school commuinty goes above and beyond, just ask yourselves do you love your children

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          • Cdev says

            I don’t think raises are what is wanted. Just no cut and maybe a step. My wife would be happy with that.

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          • Overtaxed Payer says

            Cdev,

            While your teacher wife might settle for no cut and just a step. I’ll tell you what I’d settle for a friggin job so I can pay the gol’ darn $6500 in Harford County taxes I have to pay.

            So you pompous condescending son of gun, you can shove it.

            OT

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          • Cdev says

            Saw that Wawa on rt 152 needed mgmt., Baskin and Robin’s on 24 needs a Cake Decorator. I assume since Wawa needs mgmt. they will also need employees. Not sure what your skill is but perhaps taking a temp job doing something else is waranted.

            Look she takes little in the way of COLA when the economy is doing well and when it is doing poor she even gets nothing or even a cut since this is essentially the second year in a row of a pay cut. The previous comment said she deserved a raise and maybe she does but she would simply settle for making the same amount of money or her step increase. Several teachers in her building are contemplating retiring as a result of this since it will lower their retirement. Some are moving on to PA. Since the teacher flow for Math, Science and Special Ed is so small in state expect that many kids will have long term subs next year…BTW there is another job for you to consider but it will make 2% less.

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          • Overtaxed Payer says

            Cdev,

            You’re about last person I’d accept career advice from, and I didn’t ask you for it, thank you very much.

            OT

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          • Cdev says

            I just figured I would help you out and give you some help in finding a job in your time of need.

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          • Overtaxed Payer says

            Cdev,

            Thanks but no thanks. Your unsolicited advice is not welcome, nor do I believe based on your posting history that it is in fact sincere.

            You are pompous and condescending ideologue of the highest order. You have an elitist contempt for your fellow citizens and demonstrate a well practiced ability to insult any and all conservative views.

            You possess a blind-faith in government solutions and full-faith in greater taxation of the taxpaying citizenry to fund this growth of your paternalistic government ideal.

            OT

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          • Cdev says

            You solicited it when you said you would settle for a job. There is a big sign and it says what I just told you.

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          • Overtaxed Payer says

            Cdev,

            Don’t be obtuse.

            I asked nothing of you and solicited no job referrals. You are being disingenuous and insulting. I suggest you go pound sand.

            OT

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          • Cdev says

            You said you would “settle for a friggin job” I simply suggested avenues I have seen to procure one, even a temporary one until one more to your liking becomes availible. I never insulted you. Is it true I do not like the “conservative movement” yes we have our differences. I have not hurled insults at them in contrast to you who has simply done nothing but hurl insults at me during this exchange.

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          • Overtaxed Payer says

            Cdev,

            You are sanctimonious liberal elitist who promotes a paternalistic socialized government agenda. You want extreme federal, state and local government intervention and control at a minimum in the areas of health care, education and energy.

            Your vision for our country, state and county is objectionable. Your posts indicate that you have a goal of continued and increased wealth redistribution and generational theft.

            Finally, you are in no position to know enough about me to suggest employment solutions and it was presumptuous, condescending and arrogant for you to do so. My opinion is that your goal was for me to complain and object to your job opportunity suggestions. You are one insincere son of gun, Cdev.

            Have a nice day!

            OT

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          • Cdev says

            Not liberal I am a moderate.

            Look you started with the insistance of what you wanted. I simply gave you avenues to achieve that ends. Another avenue I learned about is Home Depot in Bel Air is hiring, with benefits!

            I don’t want a govt. controled society but I disagree with your view of a society from your far right extremist view point. It seems I am willing to allow you to espose that view and you think I should “Pound sand” Guess you don’t buy that first ammendment stuff!

            Good luck with your job quest. I will not attempt to help. Shall we agree to disagree!

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          • Sandy says

            Most people aren’t getting pay raises and many are getting pay cuts as well. Working for the government doesn’t exempt you from that. My husband is self employed and hasn’t seen a raise in years. He makes less and less each year as a computer consultant. The economy is poor and most people don’t have the disposable income they used to. With the threat of the government raising taxes, we all need to save what we can. This is one time where the government employees are in the same boat as the rest of us. We just have no more to give. I hope they find better cuts than teachers’ salaries.

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          • Laughing says

            Yeah…someone has been working thesarus.com overtime.

            Just makes one seem more pathetic in trying to sound more intelligent than they are.

            Maybe OT could get a job at the library…

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          • Overtaxed Payer says

            Cdev,

            What is moderate about your positions on health care, energy and education legislation? You seem to be for Democrat health care bills from both houses, you believe in increased taxation for schools and you want passage of the Cap and Trade Bill? You might even be for Card Check?

            My opinion from your posts is you are a liberal in an extreme sense and an elitist with a hyper-superiority complex. Are you blind to you own disposition.

            By the way it is obvious we disagree and there is no need to affirm the fact.

            OT

            P.S. Rarely do I require a Thesaurus but you could use spell check with greater frequency.

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          • Phil Dirt says

            The funniest part of this thread is the part where Cdev says, “Not liberal I am a moderate.” Ow, stop, my sides are hurting!

            Did you forget that we can go back and read your previous posts on other topics?

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          • Overtaxed Payer says

            Phil Dirt,

            When confronted by reality and logical discourse Cdev must not only retreat, but also disavow his ideology. He can’t bring himself to admit what everyone else knows which is he is a liberal.

            He is for wealth redistribution through radical social legislation at every level of government and he wants our county taxes to increase in order to throw good money after bad for schools. He believes the only way to improve schools is to spend more money on them.

            OT

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          • Cdev says

            My health care position, as I said many times, is that some reform is needed. The current system is not working. I think we need something along the line of the Swiss or Dutch systems. Had you ever looked farther you would see the Swiss use a system based on free market competition of doctors and providers. What is so “Liberal” about free market economies? The Dutch system has people pay for their own insurance of choice, Those companies compete nationally for clients. The only stipulation is everyone must have a plan and denial of health care is not allowed charging a big amount is based on personal choice. Beyond that I am against Medicare and Social Security which are simply wealth redistribution pyramid schemes.

            So explain to me how that is not moderate!

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          • Sandy says

            Cdev, not sure how this topic started but it’s unconstitutional for the government to tell you that you HAVE to purchase health insurance. Since when did that become any of their business? What happens when they exempt the Amish, then they have to exempt any other religious group. Seems a moot point now with the election in Massachusetts. Who would have thought that Ted Kennedy’s old seat would have saved us!

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      • Sandy says

        Realist, I have had every one of those things happen to my kids in HCPS schools at least once. Back to my dislike for tenure.

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        • Teacher says

          Sandy,

          Your comment just reinforces the common idea that there is an expectation that teachers should be willing to work beyond their designated hours and do things they are not contracted to do…

          John’s comment is just absurd — as teachers are the ones who are educating, they must be educated themselves…(And are required by contract and conditions of their certification) …

          And Phil has yet to explain how teachers might be able to become true professionals…without changing the entire structure of HCPS…

          This attitude is just another example of how the work of the educators in our community are devalued and taken for granted. It will be a wonder if there is not a mass exodos of educators from the system to either retire or go to higher paying districts (who even in this tough economy would pay more than HCPS)

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          • Not from Here says

            Mass exodus? Doesn’t HCPS already have about 50 percent of teachers with less than five years of experience?

            I can tell you that in the two different private schools that my children attend(ed), the average number of years of experience has been about 20. They probably make less money at the private schools, but why do the teachers stay?

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          • Ed says

            The teachers stay in private schools because they are not required to take the state mandated tests, the school itself can be selective in admissions and quick to dismiss for disciplinary issues, have smaller class sizes, and in SOME cases wouldn’t be hired by the public school system.

            Not bashing private school teachers…but for some, making less and not dealing with state/county mandated BS is a great trade-off.

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          • Ed says

            AND, when mom and dad are footing the bill, kids tend to show up everyday, ready to learn and prepared. Public schools are filled with all comers, and a few have parents who don’t care one bit about education and have passed this on to their children.

            I would think that seeing small classes of ready students, without discipline issues of the public school, would be appealing.

            And…as a thought…how does a private school evaluate their teachers? I really don’t know. Is there a process?

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          • Phil Dirt says

            Professionals, or at least the ones with whom I have worked, do not have strictly designated hours (and are not ‘contracted’ to do anything). We are educated in specific areas and each paid a yearly salary to perform our jobs, which includes working as long as it takes to get the job done. That means staying late when necessary, working at home in evenings or weekends, and going to the office on off-days. We receive a salary that can be divided into a 40-hour week for comparison to other jobs, but is not actually a per-hour rate. If we do not want to do all that the job entails at the offered salary, we do not accept the position. If the additional hours become excessive, it is understood that management will reallocate or expand resources.

            There are weeks where we work 50 or more hours, and there are weeks where we may only be actually working 30 to 35 hours (due to training, researching new technologies, special events, and other non-work activities), but are present in the office for all 40 hours.

            We are each paid whatever we have personally negotiated, and know that if we perform our jobs, we will probably stay employed. If we excel, we will probably get promoted. If we do not perform up to expectations, we will probably get fired, and there is no tenure of any type or form. If we do not like our wages or benefits, we have every right to protest by quitting and finding another job.

            I believe that there is a way to incorporate portions of this into HCPS, but there are professionals who are more qualified than I am in this area who would better know how to do it. I also do not think that many teachers would be in favor of such a individual-based system.

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          • Realist says

            Phildirt, I could get on board with what you are saying, if someone could come up with a way to deal with intangibles.

            Teacher A – works at a school were a vast majority of students go home to either one or two dedicated parents who make sure that homework is completed and insures that the child studies. These parents utilize whatever is at their disposal (apparently there is a computer program or something that lets parents see upcoming tests/assignments nowadays) to make sure that there kid is successful and ready for what is coming each week.

            Teacher B – Works at as school where many (not all!) students come to school with a negative attitude and without the desire to learn. These students cause disruptions and do whatever they can to disrupt he learning environment.

            How do we compare apples and apples? According to most merit-pay models, teacher A would receive great pay because the kid has a proper support system. Teacher B will be little compensated, unless they produce Hollywood-like miracles.

            I can jump on the bandwagon if someone could explain how that would work.

            Also, would a moderately successful science teacher make more than a great cooking (I know there is a new term for it nowadays) teacher because the subject is deemed more important by society? Would an excellent history teacher make more than a below-average math teacher because of the PERCEIVED non-importance of history?

            Once someone can show how all of these intangibles would work, I could get on board. Until then, compensation has to be based upon longetivity and degrees earned.

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          • mark b says

            In the strictest sense of the term, a professional is a member of one of the “learned professions,” as they were always called in the past: medicine, law, and finance. The term “professional” was always reserved for these folks because they are held to a higher standard than the rest of us when it comes to job performance. Doctors carry malpractice insurance because they will be held personally responsible if they make a mistake on the job. Your accountant carries errors and omissions insurance because he will be held personally responsible if he screws up your finances. You just don’t see too many teachers being sued or otherwise held personally responsible by the law because their students can’t do long division.

            Throwing out the term “professional” in the broad sense is a pretty recent development, and pretty much unique to the United States.

            I would love to see good teachers paid on par with professionals, but I don’t think many of them want to be held personally responsible for their pupils’ education the way that professionals are.

            Maybe by increasing the extent to which teachers are held personally accountable for the products of their classroom, the public would be willing to pay them more. Measuring a teacher’s success/failure could be done through evaluations by parents and principals. Sixth grade teachers could be peer evaluated by the seventh grade teachers based on how well students were prepared for the seventh grade, etc. Just throwing out some pie-in-the-sky ideas.

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          • Sandy says

            Teacher, you would not say that to me if you knew how much fighting I do for our teachers at BOE meetings and in Mr. Volrath’s office. However, the main argument we hear from teachers is that they are not paid the hourly pay we think they are because of all the extras. Well, if you are going to refuse the extras, only work 6.6 hr days, 185 days a year, what does that come out to hourly?

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          • Not from Here says

            To Ed on private school teacher evaluations: Private schools do the sniff test–if they stink, they don’t stay.

            You are right that private school teachers do not have to be certified. Although many start at public schools and then move to private. It is easier for career-changers to teach in private schools too because of no certification requirement. Some private schools benefit greatly from hiring people who have held great jobs in the private sector and want to give back.

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    • Sandy says

      Harford County has a totally volunteer fire dept and EMT service. The county council approves a dollar amount for the school budget but it is the BOE who decides how that dollar amount is spent. The BOE members are volunteers as well. I do not agree with the 2% cut for teachers, I think we need to cut positions at the top and hire more teachers.

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      • budgets/qualifications says

        We need to look at some of the job postings that we are hiring for. One lets fill only the essential positions, lets stop hiring people at 85,000 plus to do nothing, lets take care of the ones who work, and bust there tail day in and day out. do we need some of theese positions that are posted weekly look at some of the salarys, and then look at the salarys on the low end of the spectrum. the workers on the lower end CAN NOT AFFORD TO LIVE, wile others have that golden parachute. here is a reality check the school also needs to weed people out who are not qualified for theese positions, there is alot of people who have been selected to fill theese positions, who are not meeting the minimum qualifications, they just know the right people. When a job description says must hold and maintain certain liscenses/ degrees/ certificates then the taxpayers need to have qualified people in those positions. if im going to pay for a diamond ring i better not get cubic zirconia, so we need to weed out those who are not qualified. no exceptions.

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        • custodian*mom says

          i totally agree they make way to many exceptions in qualifications for so and so’s son and the people who work hard to earn those certificates end up getting screwed out of a job because their family doesnt have a legacy in the system

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      • PrivateSchoolTeacher says

        I want to reply to the questions about private school teachers. I came to teaching as a career changer. I worked in a Catholic school while I went to graduate school at night to get my Masters in Reading Education (at my expense), and take the few required courses for teacher certification that I needed. As an English major in college I had taken the required literature classes and as a Reading Education major I had the required Reading classes. I simply had to take a class on teaching Special Education students, one on planning lessons (both of which could be taken as electives in my graduate program), and one additional psychology class.

        I make about 75% of what a comparably educated and experienced public school teacher makes and I pay 70% of my insurance premium (I’m now in an AIMS school). In our school, 99% of the children have at least one engage parent, the children are expected to work hard, and the classes are smaller. In addition, I don’t have to deal with the layers of bureaucratic b.s. that public school teachers have to tolerate, and I can teach to the student, not the “Voluntary” State Curriculum.

        I could not be considered for a position in the Harford County Public Schools, even if I wanted one, because I have not paid the $10 to receive state certification (I have met all the qualifications for certification– I even received a national excellence award for my PRAXIS II score). I don’t think they want to pay for my experience and educatin level, at any rate.

        And I teach with Everyday Math — what a joke!! I am a fourth-grade homeroom teacher. I have to supplement the text with mathematics lessons on multiplication and division the way I taught it in the Catholic schools where I taught previously. Unless your childrenh’s teachers are doing so, your children will enter high school unable to perform complex calculations. My son (math minor in college) laughed when I showed him the ‘lattice’ method — he referred to it as a parlor trick. He is a graduate of one of the region’s all-male Catholic high schools, if that makes any difference.

        HCPS teachers — I hope you don’t have to take that pay cut! Good luck!

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        • PrivateSchoolTeacher says

          ANOTHER ONE!
          *CHILDREN’S teachers

          No more typing on blogs on this old laptop!!

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        • justamom says

          I am saddened to see the Catholic Schools switching over to Everyday math. My experience with St. Margaret’s students from a few years ago was a more traditional math curriculum that seemed superior to what my kids were getting in HCPS. One of the BIG advantages I saw with Catholic High schools was a use of a more traditional math curriculum, not the University of Chicago math HCPS uses.

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          • PrivateSchoolTeacher says

            JustaMom,
            I think that Catholic schools still teach using a more traditional philosophy, Dr. Valenti’s grandstanding notwithstanding.

            And I agree that the Catholic high schools do a much better job of preparing students for college math. I have two sons, and the one minoring in math (majoring in Environmental Science and Physical Geography) took 5 years of college preparatory math in high school (Geography, Algebra II, Precalc, Calculus and Statistics). He said that when he got to college, he was able to coast through Calc I because he had learned most of it in high school. He was never enrolled in Honors or AP math classes, and in fact was barely a B- student in math and science (although he scored a 740 on the Math section of the SATs) — he was pretty busy playing football and having fun, and trying to pass his English classes.

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        • Interested says

          Private School Teacher- Do you currently teach in a Catholic school or another type of private school? I agree with you whole heartedly that Everyday Math is a joke. The students are presented with a variety of concepts while mastering none. Ask a student who has taken Everyday Math how to do long division with decimals. Very few can tell you. Their comments are, ” We were never shown how.” Everyday Math shows the students many different ways to solve problems and the students mix up all the different ways. Forget timed math tests without calculators. It takes them so long to figure out how to solve the problem while doing the lattice method since they do not know their multiplciation tables, time is lost. These students will have a difficult time in college when in Math they may not
          be able to use a calculator and when time is of the essence to complete an exam. Their mental math skills are not up to the speed where they should be. It is a real shame what the public schools are doing to the students.

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          • PrivateSchoolTeacher says

            Interested,
            I’m now teaching at a small independent (Episcopal) school. Other than the Everyday Math, it’s a much better teaching environment. Dr. Valenti, the head of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese, seemed to be trying to emulate the worst aspects of the public schools — on the cheap — if you can imagine that. For instance, we were forced to start curriculum mapping (ask a teacher!) after Baltimore County decided it was a waste of time and cancelled their program, and we did it with almost no training and no in-service time.

            The principal at the school where I teach now has an early-education background, so I don’t think she realizes how awful the Everydy Math program is; at the Catholic school where I taught, my principal started as a math teacher, and she would never have gone for this program. Catholic schools are nominally independent, and each school can select its own textbook series. While I was there we did switch textbooks, to one with more rigorous calculation and stronger application problems than the one we had used previously.

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          • Interested says

            Thank you for your comments. Justamom, I am not aware that any Catholic schools are teaching with Everyday Math. Many surrounding Catholic High Schools and private high schools in local counties/city are aware of the downsides of Everyday Math ( the begining series of CM) and the Chicago Math. They see the students who come from Harford County PS. Many fo the students needs to take Algebra and/or Geometry again since the students are not mastering basic concepts. These HCPS students also are so dependent on the calculator that they are unable to do fractions and when they get to rational expressions and dividing polynomials they are completely lost since they cannot convert them into decinals on their calculator. Whom ever made the decision for Everyday Math and the Chicago Project Math series for HCPS did not look long term and the effect it has on students who look at going to college. I reccommend that the HCPS Math and Curriculum Department meet with the local commumity college, private colleges and 4 year public state universities to obtain some data as to what math classes students need to take when they enter college. I think many of you will be surprised how many may have passed Trig and higher in HCPS and need to take remedial math courses or basic College Algebra Math in order to fill in the gaps of missing concepts. I challenge the HCPS to track the students who graduate and see what math classes they are taking as Freshmen in college. I think many of you will be more than surprised- shocked may be the word. I feel for the students and parents. More money to take classes in college to fill in the gaps that should have been mastered in high school. When the students have to take these classes in college it extends their time in college and the cost of college is through the roof. We tax payers should hold the HCPS accountable. I do not blame the teachers. Many do not like the CM or EM. It is the higher ups that do not listen to the teachers in the trenches

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          • Interested says

            They also do not listen to parents who have balked at the program. It says something when the elementary schools have to have night time meeting with parents to show them how EM is layed out. When the kids get to the CP, parents still are at a loss ( I mean many parents, including college educated) and then they have to hire private tutors, pay for Huntington or Sylvan and teachers need to reteach concepts after school to students who are at a loss because they are teaching too many concepts in a round about way with the students not mastering the information all in the environment where the teachers need to be keep moving on because the cirriculm says to and the Instructional Teacher Superviosrs will be on their back or writing them up for falling behind. AND all of this on top of block scheduling ( another imperfection when teaching Math).

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          • justamom says

            I understand that about 20% of HCPS students do not pass the Algebra placement test for Catholic high school, even though they had Algebra in middle school. The pass rate on the Geometry placement test is less than 1 student per year.

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          • Sandy says

            Interested, right now there is no way to hold the BOE responsible for their decisions. Believe me, a few of us have tried. We have gone to court. I even went to their ethics committee, who is appointed by…..the BOE members. We will now get to start electing our BOE members and there will finally be some accountability for the first time.

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  11. Cindy Mumby says

    For anyone who would like to see for themselves, we now have a link to the entire budget document in the story above. Find the highlighted words “526-page budget document” and click.

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  12. Lorrie says

    I would like to see a copy of the proposed budget and see how much “fluff” is still being paid for while our teachers salaries are being cut. The school system receives more money than any other entity in this county they should be able to pay our teachers. Adjusted real estate evaluations are going out now, if there is even less money to work with next year then what will they do? Its time to cut the expenses that are not benefitting our children.

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    • Ed says

      Fluff? There is enough fluff to cut without touching the salaries of teachers. Isn’t the superintendent getting a free car and gas?

      I know…dead horse, stop beating. But I know for a fact, because my sister is an elementary teacher…that interactive white boards are being installed in certain classrooms at RFE and the teachers are not being trained on them until this summer at the earliest. So, thousands of dollars in technology…lying dormant in a classroom. Way to spend the money wisely! This type of thing is par for the course.

      The county spends millions on initiatives and then doens’t see them through. Ask a teacher about Silver and Strong. The county spent millions on that program…it was gone within two years.

      Crap like that needs to be addressed before we start looking at teacher salaries.

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      • Not from Here says

        To Ed–Interactive white boards do not require any training to speak of and they were fluff in the budget long before this budget. They are nice in classrooms, but certainly not necessities.

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          • Teacher says

            I’m not sure about other schools that have white boards, but the training at our school has been worked into the schedules for inservice day meetings all year. We have already had a number of training sessions with more planned for the inservice on 1/20.

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          • Ed says

            Perhaps RFE is waiting since they just got them installed. If so, its sad. 1/2 year being used as an expensive projector screen.

            I actually hope Geturfacts is right and my neighbor is misinformed.

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          • EaglesFan says

            Many schools have had extensive Whiteboard training, but that training has evolved with the budget woes. At first it was a day of inservice, with a substitute provided. That stopped last year when budget constraints first came up. Now it’s time when it’s available, mostly after school, unpaid, and on teachers’ own times. The good teachers who want to use this tool to its full potential attend these unpaid after school sessions. Other teachers use their whiteboards as a glorified screen. Perhaps the ones not using the technology should loose it? There are many other teachers who would jump at the change to have an interactive whiteboard.

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  13. PMillRat says

    Maybe HCPS should STOP BUILDING SCHOOLS!!! How many millions were wasted at North Harford? New Bel Air cost 70 million in September, now rumors slate it at 90 million because of the leaks and structural problems throughout. Patterson Mill, new Edgewood, new sports facilities…keep wasting money. Old Bel Air wasn’t THAT bad. Anyone who is paying attention sees the money HCPS wastes DAILY on expensive non-essentials. The kids misbehave, are disrespectful, and destructive, but we continue to offer clubs, sports, rides to school, and opportunities they don’t even appreciate…tax money hard at work. They have plenty money, and waste it on one-sided countywide copies for assessments, paper tests, paper essays…GO DIGITAL!!! Instant results, instant feedback, no hassle, and it SAVES TIME AND MONEY!!! So many places to trim the fat and pay the well-deserved their due. GO TEACHERS!!!

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    • Phil Dirt says

      No, 61-year old Bel Air WAS that bad. It needed a North Harford-style renovation (without the North Harford-style nightmares) or a total rebuild/demolition.

      And you seem to conveniently skip over all of the costs (time, equipment, software, training, etc.) of an all-digital school. It looks good on paper (pun intended), but there is nowhere near enough money in the budget to start something like that and then continue to pay for all of the operation and maintenance costs.

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    • Julie says

      Capital budget and fiscal budget are separate entities. Money cannot be transferred from one to the other. Most capital projects have been budgeted for and planned in the last 5-10 years.

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    • Sandy says

      I don’t see it as just building schools, but the way they build schools. Big, open, skylights are beautiful, but we could build them with so many more classrooms! There is so much wasted space, and then the schools are overcrowded right away.

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  14. TheTruth says

    This is great news. Everyone else is suffering so education should as well. They have been shielded for far too long. NOTHING IS SACRED HERE ANYMORE. Stop buying chinese goods and talk to me when you can do that. 2% is nothing to complain about and will probably be all but forgotten when they rejoice at their 2% cola increase in 2012. What they will fail to realize is that this 2% increase in 2012 dollars will actually be another 2% decrease as of today!

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    • Realist says

      Seriously? I mean is it really GREAT NEWS that teachers may be taking a 2% pay cut? Would it be great if you or I had to take a 2% pay cut? Honest debate about its merits is one thing, but comments like that show ignorance.

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      • TheTruth says

        of course suffering is not great news. It just think it needs to be taken in the context of the bigger picture. This sort of thing across all walks of life is not going away from a society that has lived beyond its means for far too long.

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        • Realist says

          Ok, now that makes sense!

          I agree that the HCPS has lived beyond its means for far too long…would just like to seem them trim the fat before they hit teacher salaries.

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          • a teacher says

            You’re totally right….teachers have been living above their means for years now. Allof my teacher friends drive BMW’s and live in million dollar homes. We are all go on world tours each year for vacation. (please see the sarcasm)

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        • Chai Tea Party Member says

          Careful with the sarcasm there, peoples senses of humor are not working correctly.

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          • Realist says

            Just to clarify, teachers are not living beyond their means. The system in general has been. Wasteful spending on programs that last less than 5 years, paying for a superintendent’s car and his gas, paid positions that have no real purpose, etc.

            My comment was not directed at teachers. They deserve every penny that they get. I find that those who usually engage in the “bashing” wouldn’t last 10 minutes in a classroom.

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          • a teacher says

            Well then realist you and I are on the EXACT same page! Way too much overhead in HCPS!

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    • Ryan Burbey says

      Part of the reason taht everything else is suffering is because education has been suffering for so long.

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  15. T.W.A. (Teachaz Wit an Attitude) says

    Like the great philosopher Ice Cube once said ‘You want lobster, huh? I’m thinkin’ Burger King’. No Lobstaz fo’ da teachaz! Bet Cube had a good underpaid teacher!

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  16. Chris says

    I have to wonder will the superintendent be taking a pay cut? I highly doubt it. We did not get a cost of living increase, nor did those that get a step get one.

    Now the last time I was at the store milk was a little over four dollars a gallon.

    I think it is a slap in the face to the teachers, facilities and custodians, along with so many other HCPS employees.

    Instead of cutting our paychecks, why not cut those other costs, company cars, not turing off the boilers on the weekend (which cost more money to start them up then it does to keep them running).

    I just think they need to start looking at the more obvious things, like previously stated. Seriously how much does the new superintendent make? Let’s see him take the pay cut. Stop having all those dinners, for all those special occassions.

    Believe it or not we aren’t getting rich with these jobs, our homes are modest, and we have bills that need to be paid.

    I will be keeping a close eye on this, and will be diving into my union box and finding out options for this issue. Hopefully enough people will be fed up, and grip, and voice their voices. One person alone cannot does this, it has to be a united front. Period!

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    • Sandy says

      I don’t understand the teacher’s union and why they never seem to fight for the teachers. I remember when CSSRP was being evaluated and there was proven to be more work for the teachers and the teacher’s union wouldn’t get involved. What was that about? Are they going to do the same thing this time? Seems to me they are just taking even more money from the teachers.

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      • custodian*mom says

        our union is a joke also and a huge problem we have is cominication custodians(except the cheif and a select few number 2)are not allowed to have an e mail adress through the schools same with cafeteria workers and bus drivers we never know whats going on we cant even get important forms off the info web we have to ask someone else to do it for us

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  17. RavensRule says

    First of all, HCPS teachers are not part of a union, they can chose to join the education association that has limited negotiating abilities.

    Next, HCEA does not have full collective bargain rights. They have been ‘granted’ the ability to negotiate limited aspects regarding the emploent contract. Final decisions are in the hands of the BOE and are take it or leave it regardless of how the teachers vote on it.

    Teachers are ten month employees and are paid for only ten months, regardless of the work we do over the summer. Most work related expenses paid out of pocket are not reimbursed or tax deductable. Plus, the REQUIRED advanced education is only partially reimbursed for the first 30 credits, the next required 30 credits are paid fully out of pocket. To put this in perspective a starting historian fresh out of college with the State Department with a BA Degree makes the same as a 12 year teacher with these two Masters Degrees.

    Promotion is not merit based in HCPS, teachers are contracted employees hire to a specific job and other duties as assigned. Extended effort does not lead to increased salary, bonuses, or promotions. But of course all people with a contract are expected to work well beyond the agreed upon points of the contract and be happy about it. <-sarcasm here…

    Teacher do thier job not for the money or benifits, but for thier students. That doesn't mean that they do not deserve to have a fair wage and be treated with respect not deception.

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  18. RavensRule says

    By the way Braveheart,
    if we can’t spean what we don’t have, why is the state legislature slated to debate easiest for themselves and the gov this session?

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  19. Mr. Clean says

    I am in total agreement with those who have suggested that other “corners” can be cut to make ends meet with the HCPS Budget, rather than to cut our salaries by 2%. Several “corners” come to mind:

    1.) It would astound many of you to learn how much money the Board/Central Office wastes each year on food!!! Board meetings, staff meetings, even mere “lunch dates” are paid for with Budget money. I would love to get a hold of Pat’s Pizza and Carried Away Gourmet receipts and tabulate exactly how many thousands of dollars are wasted each year on catering to the very people who are complaining that salary cuts are necessary .

    2.) Remember when schools AND OFFICES were shut down for 12 days during the 2008/09 holidays? With over 50 schools in the county, as well as annex and office buildings, it is probably no wonder that boat loads of energy costs were thwarted. Fast forward to 2009/10 when offices were opened for three days during the break. Aside from that, was it really necessary to drag the kids in on the 23rd for four and a half hours? Due to the blizzard that hit the week before the holiday break, if a decision had been made to sensibly shut down schools for 2 weeks (and offices as well), think of how much energy would have been saved in the process? Instead, thousands of dollars were spent on making sure that the kids could go to school two hours late one day during the week of Dec 21-25.

    3.) In conjunction with the last paragraph, custodial and facilities staff members were called into work December 20 (Sunday) to clear parking lots and sidewalks, in hopes that school could operate on a normal or delayed schedule on Monday Dec 22. This decision was made after the Governor had already declared a state of emergency, meaning that schools would have to be closed anyhow on Monday. Think of how much money was wasted paying time and a half to all these employees for nothing!

    These examples are by no means meant to illustrate a cure all for the county’s budget woes. This is merely an example of how common sense can cure an awful lot of woes, instead of having to take away money from the very people who make education happen in this county!

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    • AJ Williams says

      Rock on Mr. Clean!

      I was so annoyed to got in for a 1/2 day on the 23rd, and it wasn’t because I’m lazy. Ask most teachers, we hate to miss days. We’ve planned things. Missing those days really made things difficult for me and my students. However, it does seem like a HUGE waste of funds to spend that sort of money for five hours.

      I’ve been behind redesigning the school year ever since I was in school. A longer break around the new year or a scheduled break in January or February when we historically have really cold temperatures would help cut costs. What about getting rid of some of those one day holidays earlier in the year?

      We could make the school day longer and go four days a week; that has worked well in some places and seems like a good temporary solution to the ecnomic problem. We could easily bring back the five day week when the economic dip has passed.

      On any given inservice how many schools are sitting basically empty? Open only the high schools or centrally located schools for inservice purposes for a single day.

      Have mandatory “blackouts.” Choose one day per week at each school and shut it down by a certain time. . . say one hour after dismissal.

      Start replacing old busses with new, more gas efficient busses when the time comes (I am not suggesting that we replace our fleet at once). There are natural gas options that are cheaper to run.

      Can we talk about the open expanse that are the rooftops? Right now there are some fantastic deals (tax breaks both state and federal) to go solar. What a fantastic lesson for environmental science!

      These are just some options that could be considered but rarely are.

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    • Ed the custodian says

      Your problem Mr. clean is that your are thinking logically. Unfortunately, using common sense solutions to solve Government problems is not in the agenda of those that spend our tax dollars. With very little oversight and just one meeting where the public can voice concerns they can easily justfy their meals etc. they do not live in the real world where you have to make such decisions as going out to eat or paying bge. I for one can not see how it is justified to pay one million dollars for artificial football fields when even some professional football teams do not have them. On the custodial side how about not paying for inferior wax that does not even hold up for one semester when there are wax’s that can last seven years. Plus it cost $3,000 to surface a perfectly good gym floor that does not need to be done every year. Plus we on the custodial side could burden a hiring freeze again that could save money as well. Cutting our salaries is lazy at best and a slap on the face to all the PROFFESIONAL’s that work on evey level of our educational system.

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    • custodian*mom says

      i was greatfull for the overtime dont get me wrong but your right that was completley unnecisary having us spend all that time shoveling when we knew the second we got there schools would be closed on monday

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  20. Lorrie says

    I agree with all that said the 23rd was a wasted day…was it really worth all the expense to the taxpayers? Certainly not but that’s how the HCPS spends. It throws away money for purposes that don’t mean a thing and then can’t afford to pay for the things that really matter. There are so many places that can be cut that aren’t. My daughter’s school of less than 200 students is still recovering from the budget cut in 2005 that cost us a teacher. That was in a time that the BOE should have been filled with money to spend when assessments and taxes were high. To many schools the loss of one teacher wouldn’t matter but now there is one 2nd grade teacher which leaves a class of almost 30 kids in one class. That means almost 15% of the school is in one class because the BOE couldn’t figure out how to prepare a budget correctly. Where are they going to get the money to pay the teachers and staffing of Red Pump?? They are going to either raise taxes or cut jobs.. This school should not be built now, there is not the money to support it. As far as school construction goes I can say that the renovation of North Harford could have been put on hold. I attended there a few years before it was renovated and there was nothing in my opinion that was wrong that could not have waited until the money was there to renovate it. But the BOE has the “Taj Mahal” syndrome and they want every school to look like a luxury resort instead of a school. There is so much wasted space that could have been used for extra classrooms, and various other needs instead of two story atriums. Safety & health issues in school should come first, things that NEED to be renovated.

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  21. justamom says

    I wonder what the reaction would be if the HCPS had said “We’re cutting 2% of the jobs in the school system,” but not given any specifics. Tombeck seems to want to preserve jobs over finding efficiencies in the system. Cutting salaries 2% is EASY compared to doing a reorganization of the system that would eliminate some jobs. What would the teachers do if given the option of taking a 2% pay cut to preserve all the jobs, or cutting 2% of the jobs to preserve their pay.
    I agree that there is waste in the system, but finding and eliminating it take time and effort, something HCPS does not seem interested in doing.

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    • Realist says

      Because that would cause stiff resistance…by parents! If you cut 2% of teaching postions, class sizes would increase. Cut a 2nd grade teacher from any elementary school, for example. THose 21 kids will be distributed among the remaining sections, which in an average sized school would be 3 other sections. That means adding seven more bodies to each of these classrooms. Would you be ok with your second grader sitting in a class of 30?

      The Aegis spins their wonderful stories about there being too many teachers. I challenge you to travel to any Bel Air school and take a head count within each academic classroom. You will find class sizes in the mid to high twenties…which is too large, especially for elementary aged kids. I know for a fact that some classes are sitting at over 30 at Patterson Mill High. Do we really want to cut positions?

      Cutting their salaries, again, sounds good in theory. But why do he always tend to go after those in the trenches before hitting those behind the ivory walls of the Board of Education Building? This is where you will find the fat to cut the budget. I would rather cut the salary of a supervisor who pushes paper than a warm body responsible for teaching my child. I would rather cut the salary of a guy making $190,000 and getting a free car/gas than a para-educator working with a special education student. I would rather put a hold on new iniatives costing millions that will just be gone within five years when the newest idea arrives than cut the salary of a person who keeps the school building clean. Leave the people who do the real work alone.

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      • FED UP says

        realist,

        i agree start trimming the fat, there is a ton of waste ive seen it, when you cut salarys from the bottom you will affect the entire moral of the building which inturn effects the kids, lets give the people who do the work a pay raise, and the people up top lets trim a little fat.

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  22. Katee says

    Is it possible that the school system did this with the intention of getting teachers/parents and the community upset to try and get more money out of the county. They have done things like that before. That is why it is imperative that people who know about waste and inefficiency should speak up. I am positive that there are enough people in the community who could find cuts that wouldn’t effect employees or have other ideas about dealing with the financial problems. I also think the Board needs to explain to the public why the superintendent got a 4 year contract when he had no experience. Couldn’t there have been a probationary period? There were plenty of qualified people who wanted the job.

    As an aside, I personally found BRAND NEW Cognitive Tutor books in the dumpster at the high school. One or two pages were torn out and that was it. School system just bought them! Couldn’t they at least donated them to another school or something. I bet there are people who could have used them for practice. Brand new computers that sit unused, classes in some school in the county around 14 or 15 kids and others with 30+. That is mismanagement and/or not properly utilizing resources.

    Also I know of many people who have made suggestions to principals and the people who run the school system and they are ignored. If there is a way to get rid of poor administrators in this county, I wish someone would tell us how that happens.

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      • Lorrie says

        We are not talking about special ed and CC classes….this is true in my daughters school.

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        • Cdev says

          Just saying because some people see 14 kids in a class and another with 28 and don’t understnad why you can not have two classes of 21. This is why. Some don’t understand that a full 60% of the counties education budget is spent complying with federal mandates particularly IDEA and Special Ed laws, not that their is anything wrong with that. I don’t think people understand that when they have to remove the ED kids from a classroom and send them to a special school or Autistic child etc. that runs about 150,000 a piece in some cases!

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          • Lorrie says

            At my daughters school most of the special education children are taught inclusively with the rest of the classroom. Those children can have all ranges of disabilities. Before the BOE budget cut my oldest was in Kindergarten with 2 even classes of 14. When the budget cut occurred they got rid of one of the teachers and put both Kindergarten classes together to form one first grade. This has nothing to do with any mandates from the federal government, this occurred because the BOE couldn’t figure out how to spend all the money they brought in correctly and decided to overspend in areas that didn’t need it and then cut what was needed. I would like to see your numbers on how the 60% of the counties eduction budget is spent on special ed laws, because I can not believe that only 40% left for all the transportation, staffing, utilities, after-school activities (including busing students everywhere for sports events every day of the week)and materials for teaching. Many parents of children with disabilities that I have spoken with would prefer to have their children sent to the local school with reasonable IEP programs than a far off school in which their child has no connection to the community.

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          • Cdev says

            Look at the budget. Factor in IA’s Special Educators, Non-contracted transportation, Non-public, Placements, School Psychologists, Educational Assessment Specialists, Contracts for IEP Plus, Maintaining smaller class sizes for the mainstream kids with IEP’s (not 504′s). That is just a start.

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    • Lorrie says

      I wondered the same thing…It would seem to me to be a way they can say “Well if you want teachers to receive the same pay then we need you to pay more taxes”. As the people that are paying for the education of this county we need to ensure that our money is going to the correct places. If people don’t put their foot down and say we have had enough then this county is going to fall apart. There are too many high ups with their hands in our wallets that don’t have to answer to anyone.

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      • Realist says

        True. Again, the one proposing the cut is making $190,000 per year. It is easy to call for a pay cut when your salary is six figures. A starting teacher in the low 40s with rent/mortgage, a car payment, student loans to repay, insurance, groceries, and/or other necessities of life can’t bear the brunt as well. And if they happened to be married to a teacher, then the family takes a 4% cut. Again, no big deal…if you are one of the fat cats making the decisions.

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          • Anne B says

            Retired…oops…sorry I missed that. What was your profession mathwiz? Im thinking you make much more than a teachers salary…..if you are…then you should opt out of this converation. Not trying to be mean;but unless you are making under 40,000 and for me…its under 30,000-you can not possible understand how we are feeling about this 2% pay cut. Also, you may want to sunstitute teach and then get back to us. We spend a lot of our own money on our classrooms and lessons….its give give give…everyday! Someone needs to stand up for us!

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          • MathWiz says

            No thanks on the substitute teacher offer, Anne B, I served my time! Taught calculus for the University of Maryland System. Loved the kids, hated the fact that they were not prepared for college level math courses. I had to spend weeks at the start of each semester patiently re-teaching algebra (that they should have learned in middle school) before I could even begin teaching the actual calc. That is what prompted my distributive property comment yesterday!

            I’m sorry you are unhappy with your salary, Anne, but the average teacher in the state of Maryland makes about $47,000 (Teacher-world.com). I couldn’t find the teacher income stats for Harford County, but if you can, please share! A quick check of Wikipedia’s “Harford County” entry reveals that $47k is better than the average salary here in Har.Co. (males here in the County have a median income of $43,612 and females have a median income of $30,741). The math isn’t perfect, I know, since we’re comparing Harford County to the State as a whole given the statistics I was able to find in a few minutes of research, but still, I don’t think it’s fair to assume that that a 2% pay cut hurts teachers any more than it hurts the average Harford County citizen. Times are tough for all of us.

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          • Special Educator says

            Mathwiz,

            Since you are so interested in pointing out everyone’s math errors let me enlighten you on some elementary level math….Mean and median are two different things. You said {A quick check of Wikipedia’s “Harford County” entry reveals that $47k is better than the average salary here in Har.Co. (males here in the County have a median income of $43,612 and females have a median income of $30,741).}

            Come on now, mean is average, those are median salaries of citizens of Harford County, totally different.

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          • MathWiz says

            And I also clearly already stated that my math isn’t perfect because I was limited by the statistics that were readily available.

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          • Special Educator says

            Additionally,

            Median income when figured out via a census is based upon all income for anyone over the age of 15 earning an income.

            How many 15-20 year olds do you know that make a decent income? I think this might skew those statistics a bit. You should know how easy statistics can be made to support an argument since you are a mathwiz.

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          • MathWiz says

            And again, I clearly stated that my math isn’t perfect because I was limited by the statistics that were readily available. That is the reason I cited the sources.

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          • Special Educator says

            Mathwiz,
            Your research isn’t the problem, it is the fundamental point you are trying to make. Your pompous attitude and superior tone are degrading. The argument you make is based on the assumption that all citizens in Harford County have taken a pay cut of 3.6%, this again is a poor argument based on statistical generalizations. Using this premise we should simply pay teachers based upon median income statistics for the state of MD. I take issue with what you have said because it is nothing more than an attempt to degrade the profession of public educators dressed up to sound academic. The reality is your argument is fundamentally wrong and not intelligent in anyway.

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          • mark b says

            Wow. Touched a nerve? At least he is making an effort to contribute to the discussion with rational arguments and not baseless opinions, Special Educator. I appreciate your passion, but I don’t think you are doing yourself or your own point any favors by slinging mud. There is too much mudslinging and not enough thoughtful discussion on this site already.

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          • Special Educator says

            I’m not slinging mud. Simply calling a spade a spade. I will gladly openly debate anyone on this topic, but suggesting pay be based off of median income is degrading. Furthermore, dressing it up to sound intelligent by hiding behind statistics doesn’t impress me.

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          • MathWiz says

            I certainly did not say that all citizens of Harford County have taken a 3.6% pay cut. I was simply comparing the average 3.6% pay reduction to the average 2% pay reduction for teachers to support my opinion: that the topic of this article is a reflection of the overall state of the economy. I think you missed the point there.

            I did not state that we should simply base teacher salaries on median income statistics for the state. I simply cited the salary statistics to support my opinion that teachers do not already make substantially less than the average taxpayer. I thought it was a relevant point, given that teachers’ salaries are paid out of the budget which is supported by taxes collected from the average taxpayer. You are free to disagree with my opinions — the fun of the discussion board is that it provides a forum for thoughtful debate! Instead, it seems like you misunderstood my point completely.

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          • Special Educator says

            “The point that seems to be missing here is that a 2% cut is significantly less than the 3.6% cut that the average non-teacher employee is facing.

            When you compare $800 to $1600, you are assuming that the non-teacher spouse isn’t taking any kind of cut. In reality, the average non-teacher spouse is actually taking a much larger pay cut (3.6% average for 2009).”

            I understand exactly what you are trying to say, I just don’t agree. A teacher’s salary is paid for out of tax dollars, so you feel that during a recession or any down turn they should make less due to tax revenue decreasing. Your words–>(I thought it was a relevant point, given that teachers’ salaries are paid out of the budget which is supported by taxes collected from the average taxpayer)

            Can I jump to the conclusion then that teachers should all get raises everytime there is a tax increase?

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          • MathWiz says

            Again, Special Educator, no one ever said anything about paying teachers according to the median income.

            If you scroll up, you will understand why it came up in the first place. It was in response to Anne B’s thoughtful argument that a 2% pay cut is unfairly large for teachers, given their level of income. To me, it sounded like Anne B was implying that teachers’ salaries are less than average, and that, therefore, a 2% pay cut would affect them much more significantly than it would affect the other people in Harford County. I cited the labor bureau statistics in response because, again, it is my opinion that the 2% pay reduction is comparable to what non-teachers are already experiencing. These are tough times for everyone.

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          • MathWiz says

            Sorry, I am now one post behind (that last one was in response to your post from two rounds ago).

            Yes, I have nothing against pay increases for teachers when an increase in tax revenue to the budget supports it. I think that is fair.

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          • mark b says

            Teachers already get that, though. Someone else brought up the whole COLA thing already in another thread.

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          • MathWiz says

            Also, you’re putting words in my mouth when you say, “you feel that during a recession or any down turn they should make less due to tax revenue decreasing.”

            Read more carefully. I said that I cited the statistics because I thought they were RELEVENT to my point. I never said that teachers SHOULD make less any time there is any decrease in the tax revenue. In fact, the budgeting process keeps them insulated from most of the natural ups and downs of the economy. The fact that teachers’ salaries are paid out of tax dollars simply helps to explain WHY there will be pay cuts, even for teachers, in the context of the overall economy during a recession as serious as this one. I already stated my opinion elsewhere that the BOE could probably cut costs elsewhere in an effort to minimize any necessasry pay cuts for teachers.

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          • Anne B says

            Mathwiz,

            I am an employee of HCPS…..not a teacher.(Never said I was a teacher). All,HCPS employees are going to get a 2% pay cut. I dont think any of us,including teachers, should ever be cut pay. However, there are employees making excessively less…ParaEd’s,Techs,Secretarial,Custodians…already making less than $30,000.Shoot, there are some making a lot less than $25,000. So you think its fair to cut their pay????
            I agree totally with “Special Educators” comments towards you.It seems you have a lot of time on your hands;since you check all your facts so well on what teachers make;but maybe you should check pay amounts of support staff of HCPS-before making any more pompous comments.Maybe your students were so unprepared because teachers these days in middle,elementary and high schools…are too busy teaching manners,rules,making sure kids have proper winter clothes,behavior management,calling parents to remind them of meetings and staying after school to tutor those who are behind-maybe thats why your students were behind? Oh yeh…lets try this…maybe its the PARENTS fault.No one ever blames them!
            I have been in this sytem for 15 years. Do you not think I am entitled to my step and my Cola?Im happy with my salary Mathwiz…but not if they cut it. Especially since I am HAPPY with my job…just not the 2% pay cut to come.What happens if someone wanted to cut your retirement…and it effected the way you live…would you be happy?

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          • Sandy says

            Anne B, I have no idea if you deserve your step and your cola or even your job. This is a big problem with many teachers. 15 years doesn’t entitle you to anything if it was 15 years of doing a poor job. I’m not saying you did a poor job, I have no idea, but I don’t understand why the amount of years you work there is the most important thing.

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        • MathWiz says

          I hope you aren’t a HCPS teacher, Realist. Two married teachers taking a 2% pay cut doesn’t equal a 4% pay cut for the family. It is still just a 2% pay cut for the family.

          I hope one of the five math books that Tracy’s kids (Comment 11.1.1) bring home contains a lesson on the distributive property so that we don’t have an entire generation of children making mistakes like this one in the real world.

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          • Realist says

            Mathwiz, No…I am not a teacher, I just respect the profession. I am happily retired and have been for the past 2 years. Sorry for my mistake…it has probably been 4 decades since I have actually heard the term “distributive property.” Thank you for the math review. In kind, I hope that you are not a teacher either. Your snide response would not be appropriate in the classroom, where mistakes are corrected every day.

            The point I was trying to make was that both bread winners would be taking a pay cut, rather than just one of the two earners. While your correction is noted, it would still be the difference between $800 and $1600 for the family if both were teachers making 40K(can you double check that for me Mathwiz?). Yep, still 2%…but a harsher hit.

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          • MathWiz says

            I respect the profession as well. Especially the great teachers I had when I was a HCPS student, myself.

            The point that seems to be missing here is that a 2% cut is significantly less than the 3.6% cut that the average non-teacher employee is facing.

            When you compare $800 to $1600, you are assuming that the non-teacher spouse isn’t taking any kind of cut. In reality, the average non-teacher spouse is actually taking a much larger pay cut (3.6% average for 2009).

            So it’s really not the difference between $800 and $1600. It’s the difference between $2240 (the $800 loss the teacher would take at 2% of $40,000 plus the $1440 loss that his non-teacher wife would take at 3.6% of $40,000) and $1600. As you can see, the two teachers are actually better off by about $640 on average.

            That doesn’t even take into account the fact that teachers have, for the most part, been spared from the layoffs that have left the general population with 7 or 8% unemployment levels.

            Pay cuts are not easy for anyone, but when the average County citizen or business owner is not making the money he/she once was, it is going to have an obvious effect on the taxes collected to support the budget. In a recession of this severity and length, there are few sacred cows, and HCPS will eventually see cuts, too. Could the Board of Ed. find a better way to cut costs so that salaries would only decrease by 1.5% or 1%? Probably, but it is unrealistic to expect that HCPS employees would not take any sort of pay cut, given the situation that the average Har.Co. taxpayer is in. Personally, I would rather see pay cuts than layoffs which would have a more severe impact on students, individual HCPS employees, foreclosure rates, consumer confidence, etc.

            Hope today’s math correction lesson reads less “snide” than yesterday’s. ;)

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          • Anne B says

            Sandy…that is the most ignorant uninformed statement I have ever heard on this site. I am actually doing a great job…excellent evaluations and excellent comments from current and previous supervisors. I would like to retire, and oh yeh..be able to support myself at age 70…so that I wont be a burden on my children. Thats why the amount of years is important! May I ask; what job you have and how many years you have been there? That would be important to know since you have such a “positive” opinion on teachers.

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          • Sandy says

            Anne, I actually have a pretty positive opinion of most teachers, but certainly not every one of them. Just like you have a negative opinion of some parents. I volunteered everyday my kids were in elementary school, most days they were in middle school, and some in high school. I watch my niece’s baby now everyday, her husband is in Iraq and they can’t afford childcare, so I’m starting over. I still am very involved in school board meetings and happenings and was one of 2 parents to start a PTSA at Aberdeen High School when my daughter started there, she is a senior at the SMA now.

            I am doing my job as a parent. My oldest is in her second year at Towson, she graduated a year early from HCPS to get away from the block schedule. My middle is a senior at AHS, and my youngest is a sophomore at BAHS. I’m glad to hear you are doing a fine job too. I’m not sure why you would say such nasty things about me for questioning that. How would I know that? I certainly wouldn’t assume that everyone at HCPS is doing a phenomenal job! I know better than that.

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          • Sandy says

            Anne B, Sorry not to fully answer your question. I am a stay at home mom. Started an in home daycare when we decided to try to start a family so everything would be up and running. Quit after my 3rd child so I could spend more time taking my kids out and doing things with the 3 of them. Things are tight, but we are very careful to live within our means. Most people in the real world don’t get pensions. That is something for HCPS employees to be thankful for.

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        • custodian*mom says

          totally agree 2% cut would completly bury me in debt we start anywhere from 24 to 25 a year and after everything is taken out i take home
          about 8.50 an hour

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          • Anne B says

            Sandy, I was very offended by you saying “I’m not saying you did a poor job, I have no idea, but I don’t understand why the amount of years you work there is the most important thing.” The reason is that most of us started working for the school system- for the love of the job,family needs and retirement. I dont want my two boys having to take care of me in my old age. A lot of jobs in the real world have retirement,pensions etc…thats why a lot of us choose to do those jobs. I waited tables for years when I was younger…not something I want to do when I am 70 years old. I am very invested in my job. As a parent and stay at home mom;you can make comments on that-because that is the hardest job.However,you volunteering in a school and being on the PTA-you have no idea what its like to deal with Administration, parents and students and then wake up(being a parent as well) and face a 2% pay cut. Im done with this subject because you cant change anyones opinions. My whole point to this whole subject was that their are employees making excessively less than 25,000 that work for HCPS(ParaEd,Nurse,Custodians etc)-that do not deserve a pay cut….they work so hard and some have been their for 15/20 years. Im done with this subject now…because you can not change anyones minds.

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  23. MathWiz says

    As of December 21st, Maryland’s unemployment rate was 7.4%. The median household income dropped by 3.6% during this recession.

    Put in the correct context, a 2% decrease in income without any layoffs is actually much much better than what the average citizen is facing, but that doesn’t sell newspapers.

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    • Cdev says

      Fine then when unemployment goes down and the average salary increases by 10% I will expect your support in recieving a 10% COLA!

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      • mark b says

        If average household income ever experiences a 10% year-over-year increase, your wife would likely get something like a 5.5% increase in income as a Harford County public school employee.

        Since Harford County public school employees are being asked to participate in 55% of current economic downturn (2% cut for Harford County public school employees vs. 3.6% cut for everyone else), it is unlikely that they would be offered more than 55% of any economic upturn. It’s really just risk vs. return. Teachers don’t normally see huge increases in their salary, but in return, they get stability and job security. And it all goes back to the fact that teachers can only make what the taxpayers can afford to pay them.

        That said, I don’t think our economy has ever seen a 10% year-over-year increase in average income, so it is unlikely that your wife would get that kind of COLA. :(

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  24. Chris says

    I couldn’t agree more with every comment. I to know for a fact that there are some classes that are around the 30 mark at PMMHS.

    Custodians start out making way, way less than what the teachers start out. It’s been a while but I do believe it’s around $22,000 dollars. It took me almost 10 years and 3 months to make decent money.

    There are so many areas that need to be curbed, company cars, lucheons & dinners, company cell phones. What about having inservice meetings via computer at home. Or like anther person stated have a central location for inservice. The only thing bad about rolling black outs is it effects the night shift custiodians from doing their jobs. And there is anther point, why not do away with the night shift differential.

    Above all HCPS needs to look at the money that they themselves throw away.

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    • Ed says

      Sad thing is…those at the top like the view and don’t want to be the ones changing their perspective. You or I or a committee of parents could probably run through the entire school system and cut unnecessary expenditures. But how dare we tell them that they cannot provide luncheons or drive company cars back home to Baltimore County? I really believe at the top is where you would find enough waste to at least keep teacher pay where it currently is. I would rather the superintendent be forced to give back his car, buy his own vehicle and gas from his 190K than ask a person teaching kids to bite the bullet.

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    • FED UP says

      Chris there is no decent money in custodial work, we are the working ants, and we are the ones who are abused neglected, and treated like dirt, however on a daily basis i go above and beyond and in a heartbeat i would risk my life for the safety of our children

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  25. Two Cents says

    During the summers, go to a four day work week for the staff (10 hour days) and shut the school for three days. That will save a lot of money spent on having the buildings open. And why were we open during the week in between Christmas and New Year’s?? Colleges aren’t so why are we? Waste of money.

    And those top leaders that sit in their office in Bel Air… they don’t do enough to deserve their salaries. If teachers can’t afford to live in the county where they work, there is something wrong!

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    • TheTruth says

      That is an excellent idea. Something that the chinese might do, but not here since we’ve been doing the same thing for so long.

      Did you know that the chinese have surpassed Germany as the world’s top exporter and have surpassed us as the worlds largest auto market?

      Oh and did i mention they have surpassed Japan as the largest auto producer?

      Lets just keep doing the same old thing and complain on forums while we accept our lower standard of living.

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  26. RavensFan says

    Go ahead, HCPS Board of Ed. Pass the proposed 2% reduction of teacher salaries. That act would simply match the continuing disrespect that the “important people” within HCPS have towards us little folk. You know, the educators who actually work with the children. The ones who do all the planning, preparing, instructing, grading, collecting data, and analyzing of student achievement data. Remember us?

    Go ahead and force me to cut back on the amount of money I spend from my paycheck towards buying school supplies for needy children. Reduce my salary so I can no longer afford to sponsor families and provide them with gifts and a holiday dinner. Force me to not buy books for my classroom library for the children to read since many do not have any at home. Force me to get a summer position for the 7 weeks we have off when I’m usually enrolled in $800.00 graduate courses for the purpose of the professional development that is so strongly encouraged. That is what will happen if my salary is reduced. Not a threat. Just a fact.

    Want to make budget cuts Trump-style? Put about 25% of the “important people” back into the classroom as teachers next fall. Have a hiring freeze to fill the classroom teacher positions with educators already working within the system. But that would be a challenge being that many of these “important people” have not actually planned, prepared, or taught a lesson to children in decades! They are busy enjoying their daily 60-minute lunches (us folks in the trenches get 30 min if we’re lucky). They are busy dreaming up new ways for teachers to collect data. They are busy organizing teacher workshops where the majority of teachers attending walk out of the in-service saying nothing new was learned. They are busy enjoying catered lunches paid for by HCPS. Sounds like the life. Let’s not cut anything related to the “important people.”

    THAT WOULD MAKE TOO MUCH SENSE!

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    • Not from Here says

      On putting the “important people” back into the classroom…What a great idea. Each of them could teach one class (with no additional pay at all), and with the block schedule, they would only have to teach every other day. That surely wouldn’t impact their schedules too much. At many of the finest institutions in the country, the top adminstrators teach a class. RavensFan has a great idea that should be implemented.

      This would get the administrators in to all of the schools to see what is going on. It could be an opportunity to offer a class–say a special AP course–that could not otherwise be offered because a qualified teacher is not available. Or, better yet, have them help students with remediation for what they have not learned. I think that administrators would be a nice addition to help program aides — although we would not want to do anything that would cut program aides. Hey then Mr. Director of Secondary Ed could go on the road and give speeches about how much money a district can save by getting its administrators out of their nice, new offices.

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    • justamom says

      I’d love to see the some central office administrator try to teach lattice method multiplication to a group of 4th graders.

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      • Not from Here says

        How about a grade-level English class with 30 wormy ninth graders? They could teach some grammar or how to write a research paper.

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  27. justamom says

    I see where Howard County Schools are meeting their budget by cutting 9 central office positions. As I said before, doing an across the board cut is EASY, actually cutting postions is HARD. But someone making nearly $200,000 a year should be able to make hard decisions in tough times.

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  28. Lorrie says

    I like Tomback says “If the Board chooses a process by which my compensation would require a reduction, then I would absolutely be included”…wow that is a great way to avoid the question…That leaves the opening for the higher ups to retain 100% pay.

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    • Realist says

      Sorry…hit submit a bit early. You are right…the wording is priceless, isn’t it?

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  29. Realist says

    Again, if you are making 190K…get a free car/gas…you won’t feel the pay cut.

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  30. Delegate Dan Riley says

    2010 is an election year. For the first time in the history of Harford County,we the citizens, will be able to vote for members of the Board of Education. This provides a great opportunity to have your voices heard on this and other issues pertaining to education.

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    • Proud Teacher says

      Yeah, THAT will solve things. Vote for folks that once went to school, and thereby know everything there is to know about being a teacher or running a school system. Add a dash of power and presto, everything will be running fine!

      That’s a huge problem with the perception of education and how things are done- since everyone had a teacher/went to school, everyone thinks they have a deep understanding of all things educational. Sitting on the wrong side of the desk in no way prepares you to “know” about teaching, about students, about schools. The lack of respect is astounding.

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      • Lorrie says

        They only problem there is like every other election where the candidates promise the world and don’t hold up to any of their promises or ideals.

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      • justamom says

        It seems like most people of Harford county suffer under the misconception that “I went to Harford county schools and I got an OK education so Harford County Schools are fine.” Or, “Maryland schools were ranked #1, therefore we’re doing great.” They can’t admit that our schools are only average, and there is much room for improvement. Until we get a school board that demands improvement we will suffer from mediocrity.

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    • Ryan Burbey says

      Pass the fairness in negotiations act so we can be treated equitably and bargain on a level playing field please.

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    • First Citizen says

      Maybe you should look into the email situation and we should have the right to vote for the whole board that they fought so hard against.

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  31. Cdev says

    A thought that was shared with me tonight. Being young it never occured to me. The 30+ crowd would take a hit on their retirements because of this. Especially if it is not restored. Thus it would be cost effective to retire NOW! In msome faculties that can be huge. At my wifes middle school that is merely 10% of the faculty. At a school like Bel Air that could be almost 40%. We would then be in the posityion of attracting and replacing a HUGE number of teachers offering lower pay then other jurisdictions. The other question, which isn’t answered is it a 2% cut in the salary scale and a step freeze really adding up to more then 2%?

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    • DW says

      In long run it is much more than a 2% cut (or pay freeze) when you figure in the retirement pension and future % pay increases. Depending on what step a teacher is on it can be a huge difference. Those who have their 30 years (or more) in and can retire at any time will be the ones most likely to feel the impact the most on the their retirement unless they stick around a few more years and hope the economy recovers. Younger teachers will have it hit them more in future pay increases since they’re % based.

      The same thing applies to HCSO employees as well (though we aren’t looking at pay cut at this point as far as I know.) There are some deputies who haven’t gotten a step increase at all and are still on step 1 when they should be on step 3 by now and others who the only reason they’ve gotten a pay raise since graduating the academy is because they got a pay grade increase when they came off probation.

      Of course there are those on here will argue that teachers and cops should be thankful that they have a pension since very few private companies offer pensions any more, but my response to that is if they wanted to get a pension then they should’ve decided to make a career out of educating children or having to put on body armor and carry a gun every day for 30 years.

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    • justamom says

      Many private companies eliminated their 401(k) match last year due to the “economic downturn.” They meant they contributed nothing to the retirement for plans their employees. I would gladly have accepted a 2% cut to that program.
      Many private sector employees were hit with pay cuts in excess of 2%, loss of retirement contribution, and a hefty increase in their cost of healthcare insurance. IF they still had a job. It’s risk/reward. Yes, teachers are paid less, BUT they get nearly lifetime employment and benefits that are superior to the private sector. Private sector pays more, but you live with the risk you could lose your job in bad times, or get hit with the salary or benefit cut. I really don’t think that a 2% cut would cause HUGE numbers of teachers to leave.

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      • Special Educator says

        Teachers only wish that they got a match in their retirement plan. What we have been forced to accept is one company, take it or leave it, when it comes to our 403(b).

        You are right in that many teachers will not leave, but have you considered that an equal amount will not come to HCPS. You complain in the above post that our schools are average; do you think that not being able to attract quality educators plays into that fact? HCPS already has one of the lowest starting salaries in the state. Decreasing it will not help in recruitment. Last time I checked, there is an extremely high demand for math teachers, science teachers, special educators, etc.

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      • Cdev says

        If you have 35 years and your pension is based on the average of your last 3 years of salary. knowing you will recieve a 2% decrease will decrease that pension by .66% If you stay 2 years that will be a 1.33% decrease. It compounds. Unless you plan on staying for a LONG time or have a pressing need to be working. Then the financial good move is to retire. Thus how many of them will bolt in that situation?

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  32. Realist says

    After taking my morning walk this brisk morning, I think I found out something else….the board has cut 2% from their snow removal budget. Emmorton Elementary’s parking lot wasn’t even touched yet (at 8:15). Of course, this is just a joke…keeping it light hearted!

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    • Realist says

      The joke was the 2%….the parking lot part was true! Hopefully, the get to that before the wee ones arrive.

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    • Tracy says

      but I bet you the superintendents parking space was cleared out and salted at the board of ed building at 5:00am this morning…LOL

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  33. employed mom says

    Well I for one am having a hard time understanding the logic in the budget cut…Correct me if i am wrong but during the renovation of BelAir High School i know for a fact furniture….perfectly good furniture was either discarded or destroyed…and some of the inside construction of the school was in perfect condition and it was demolitioned along with the school talk about wasted funds!!!!!The NEW BOE building is quite elaborate and POSH while some of our students are in classrooms with mediocre desks and chairs????The individual budgets within the schools are sooooo limited that Dept Chairs and The chief custodians are handed THEIR budget money like it is an allowance?????I have been employed within the school system for many years and have worn several hats in those years and I personally have seen plenty of ways to help this situation other then cut money from the VERY PROFESSIONALS who make the mold for our childrens education and future at all levels!!!!!!!

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    • Phil Dirt says

      I think we could balance the budget if we taxed excessive question marks and exclamation points.

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      • Grammer Guy !!!!!??? says

        I agree Phil Dirt….but can we include excessive use of CAPITAL LETTERS????!!!!????!!!! (it could potentially double the revenue from your proposed “sin” tax)

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  34. bill says

    Maybe the teachers should come in on snow days and clear the snow. Saves on removal and they are paid for that day anyway.

    Also, during the multiple summer vacation months, teachers could come in and help with the upkeep of the school. Saving on the costs of painting, maintanance, and other tasks would put more money in the budget.

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    • Realist says

      Only issue with that Bill…you would then have to pay teachers over the summer, since they are only paid for the school year. That would not be cost effective.

      Also, aren’t custodians paid to come in for building maintainence? You would be paying two groups to do the same job. Custodian pay is less, so the current system works pretty well.

      What about fining parents for sending their children to school without completed homework or without preparing for tests? That money could be used to help with budget shortfalls! I would think that this would generate NO money because parents (the ones that don’t do so already) would take a more active role in education. That way, success goes up for the kid and we can put the merit pay idea into play on a level playing field.

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    • Cdev says

      Teachers do not get paid for a SNOW day. They are paid for the 190 days they work. If it snows and schools are canceled while that particular check is not reduced the last check is not increased for the extra day they work.

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      • bill says

        They only work 190 days in a year but receive a salary that is better than average than most people in this state? Others have to work close to 250 days a year. That is 60 more days for comparable money. And that does not include the generous benefits.

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        • Not from Here says

          Anyone who thinks teachers are overpaid has never been a teacher. They may be in the classroom for 190 days, but there is far more that goes into it. Planning and grading are done almost always outside of the regular class day and teacher certification requires additional schooling that is completed on the teacher’s time as well. Plus–and this is huge–school teachers have to put up with a bunch of spoiled bratty kids whose parents think they can’t do anything wrong. I say to anyone who thinks teaching is a cakewalk: GO FOR IT. Get your degree, get your master’s, and get a job teaching. And how do they come up with average salary anyway? Someone with no education should make less money than someone with more. That is why a lot of us went to college. My mommy and daddy didn’t pay my way, but I knew that it would mean a better life for me. It worked out, but I wasn’t handed anything–ever.

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          • Jay says

            Not From Here – People who have never been a teacher will never agree that they work longer than 7 hours per day for 190 days. Why? Because they have this deep-rooted belief that when the school day is over, so is your work day. Papers miraculously grade themselves, lessons are planned on their own, phone calls and e-mails are sent by your personal secretary, creation of materials (worksheets, quizzes, tests, informal assessments, etc.) are purchased online via Amazon, etc. They believe that summers are completely yours, to be spent by the pool or basking in the sun. Even though you are required to take college courses, there is probably a “good ole boy” network in place where the courses are free and you get an automatic “A” without doing any work for them. When kids, especially at the secondary level, wish to stay after for help, teachers brush them aside without the slightest hesitation. The FREE duty hours required by high school teachers are actually paid hours, with the money coming from a mystery fund that HCPS has hidden away from the public eye. Conference nights, days and nights for elementary, are all overtime hours where teachers make time and a half. Etc.

            Of course this is hyperbole, but using the “hard work” tactic just doesn’t fly with SOME folks within these forums. In their minds, teaching is a posh position where every day is short and the pay checks incredibly large.

            I am so relieved that was able to retire two years ago. I was able to avoid the frozen step with ZERO COLA last year and the possible reduction next year that will impact future pensions. But then again…teachers probably don’t deserve pensions either. Not for 7 hour work days over a 190 day span. I guess I should feel guilty for receiving one and for making a salary at such an easy profession.

            The sad reality is that those that complain about teachers the most are the ones that MIGHT last a single day in the classroom. Of course they will deny this. But those within the classroom know the realities of teaching other people’s children. It is not easy, the hours are excruciatingly long (if you do it right!), and the compensation will certainly not make you rich.

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          • blue says

            Not From Here: Nice attitude. Poor little you, having to put up with “spoiled bratty kids” all day long. When you became a teacher, who in the hell did you think you would be teaching–perfect little robots? I pity the children in your class having to put up with a nasty hateful witch like you. Do us all a favor and quit.

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          • Not from Here says

            Blue–I did not say that I am a teacher, so don’t pity my students. As Jay confirmed, what I was getting at was that most people have no idea what goes into being a teacher and for anyone who thinks it’s easy–they should go for it.

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          • Sandy says

            Jay, maybe that’s the key, if you do it right. My kids’ elementary school was a negative place to be. Everyone left at 3:30 with the kids and arrived either with the kids or soon before. The middle school was better. I have no idea about the high school. I walked my kids to elementary school everyday, I’m sure the teachers did work at home, but they sure didn’t stay late or come in early.

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          • Jay says

            Sandy – then I sympathize. My school has its share of 6:50-2:10 teachers…but again, it is a minority. If your elementary was of the same manner, then that is highly unfortunate. I don’t know how they do it. My day ends at 2:10, the earliest I leave is 4:30 and I still take essays/tests/quizzes/etc. home with me. I would say that I wish I knew there secret…but I really don’t want to know!

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          • Not from Here says

            Keep in mind that many teachers are moms and dads or care for aging parents and have to be home right after school. With computers, parents and other teachers really have no idea how much outside work is going on. To criticize someone for walking out the door at the time they are allowed to walk out the door, is not fair. There are plenty of people who put in very long hours and play solitaire or surf. You don’t know looking form the outside.

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  35. Tiny taxpayer says

    As a former teacher, I am always saddened when teachers pay is reduced. However, the 2% paycut will parallel the 5 furlough days that the county had, the library closings that happened this past year and the will cover the almost 10% increase in medical insurance that the boe will cover for the teachers/staff of the boe. I am sure that the meeting on Monday at the BOE office will be lively. I hope that the info is shared with all of the taxpayers—I also wish to remind all about the county exec budeget input meeting at CMW hs on Jan. 26. That meeting will be where citizen input is allowed, encouraged and hopefully, heard. The budget that the boe has is almost 57% of the county budget. Taxpayers need to have some say in how, where and why the money is spent. Do we need to fund teachers health care or build a skateboard park this year? Do we need to have students clean up the class rooms before the end of the day, or do we need to pay custodial staff higher wages/med. expenses? Are students capable of sweeping sidewalks or only custodians? I am dumbfounded by the inablitity of many of our high school students to use a broom, although they can program phones, computers and dvds with no problem. Perhaps we ought to implement outside cleanup into our phys.ed programs, to alleviate the need for more custodial staff- the students would get exercise, fresh air and the grounds would be cleaner. Rubber gloves and trash bags cost less than the current health care plan the staff has. I am not putting down the custodial staff. I think students ought to be responsible for their own cleanup- cafeteria, halls, parking lots and classrooms. Last time I looked, the mess just keeps growing.
    Some ideas for budget cuts would also include parent/ community fundraising to provide needs for the students. Many businesses get 5-10 phone calls per week to advertise and donate to the schools. How much $ is generated from those calls? What is it used for and by whom? I am not sure that the teachers/staff benefit directly from any of the funds generated, but the students are supposed to be getting direct benefits from the money generated by the phone calls. Are they? What about using the school facilities for community activities? Does parks and rec have to pay to use the school? Why? Isn’t that a double tax? Asking questions leads to more questions…who determines if/or when a school building or field can be used by other groups? Are fees charged? Libraries charge fees to use their rooms, do schools? I am curious, will the county council or state delegation—what about our esteemed Governor OMalley, or House Speaker Busch or Senate Maj. Miller, will their pay raises include teachers this year? How about the current raises that the Aberdeen council wants? Perhaps the fees should be ‘gifted’ to the boe for teachers. What about the gym facilities? Who determines the water usage for showers? See what I mean about the multiple questions raised? It is a rabbit trail…

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    • Astute in Aberdeen says

      The current mayor of Aberdeen is after a big fat raise. The city council (wisely) will NOT go along. Finally, the council makes a good decision! ( Quick….Mark your calendars!)

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  36. Teach says

    Ok, did anyone see the part in the article that said Tomback gets paid 190,000 A YEAR!!!!!!!!! That is a disgrace if you ask me – what does he do exactly that he gets to get paid almost FIVE TIMES more than us teachers. WE are the ones making a difference. I havent even seen the guy in the schools or anything. It just makes me mad that more and more gets dumped on our plate, yet if we were to work only our contracted time, and we got observed, we would get the bad observation. This is only my third year teaching, and I have to contemplate getting another job because if I get a pay cut, I dont know if I can afford to pay my bills. It is said that we work full time and most of us have to get other part time jobs just to pay the bills.

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    • DW says

      While $190k/year might be a bit much, he is essentially the CEO of HCPS and is managing a multimillion dollar budget and hundreds of employees (probably more like thousands…I don’t know how many employees HCPS actually have.) He should be getting paid significantly more than teachers and administrators, though I’m not sure $190k/year is really justified.

      A similar position in the corporate world would be bringing in at least twice that much plus stock options, etc.

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    • Not from Here says

      While $190K a year sounds like a lot to a teacher making $40K, it is not an unrealistic number for a school district the size of HCPS. If I had my Ph.D. and 20 plus years of experience, it is not the job I would be seeking. And if we have a good superintendent (too early to tell), the entire county benefits and his salary will be well spent. Have you looked at corporate CEO salaries? Do you have any idea how much money private sector people with the same budget and number of subordinates make? It’s more than $190K.

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  37. Elaine says

    Are the principals in the high schools and/or other schools encouraged to be on Educational Committees run by the State of Maryland. I know the principal at my kids school was running to Annapolis on a regular basis last year. Here we had to hire more administrators and the principal has time to be on these committees. Don’t think it is appropriate especially now. Why shouldn’t he have had to do that on his own time? He’s being paid a VERY decent salary too which isn’t tied in any way to student performance or the quality of teachers in the school (most of whom he hired).

    Maybe only people making over $100,00 year should get a 2% paycut – oh yeah those are the administrators and people at Central Office.

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    • Tracy says

      as a teacher in this county you would not believe the amount of waste…I bet you if teachers were allowed to voice an opinion without feeling like they would get fired or reprimanded (Something Haas and her sidekick Mr. Oneil would do all the time if you did this) then you would be horrified. Teachers are told to keep their traps shut…period….tax payers should know exactly what their money is going towards. Teachers are tax payers as well…

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      • bill says

        Then tell us Tracy. Show some courage to fix the problem. You may take some heat, but if it is that bad, it would be worth the trouble.

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        • Tracy says

          Sorry Bill but I need my job….a freind of mine stood up 3 years ago and was fired for opening her mouth…Haas might be gone but her side kick is not….

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  38. john says

    Is it true that the superintendent, who doesn’t live in Harford County, gets a county vehicle, gets gas paid for and is paid mileage???

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  39. Jacob says

    John,

    You typically receive a car and gas with no addition mileage reimbursement. It is usually one or the other. If you did receive all of the above the mileage reimbursement would be treated as ordinary taxable income to the employee.

    Jacob

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  40. Michele says

    As an HCPS employee, I feel like I’ve already taken my 2% paycut. It’s the 2% raise that I DIDN’T get last year but was supposed to get, along with my “step” increase for longevity, that I also DIDN’T get, all in the name of budgetary constraints. How much more do I need to give? I am a dedicated professional trying to make a living wage. I am not a teacher. However, I went to school longer than many first year teachers, And after almost fourteen years, that first year teacher makes more money than I do. I need a license for my job, the teacher doesn’t. Just pay me what I am worth, and stop trying to take away what my contract says you are to pay me!

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    • Overtaxed Payer says

      Michele,

      You are free to join the private sector and earn what the market will pay you anytime.

      However you may or may not get what you think your worth. Your health insurance and retirement benefits are likely not to equal what you have now. And let’s not forget you won’t have summers off and long holiday breaks.

      In fact if you ask Cdev he’ll give you free career advice.

      OT

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      • Michele says

        OT–I CHOOSE to work for HCPS, fully recognizing that the benefits are great and the pay sucks for my particular position. I do it for the love of the children, and I do truly love my work. But please don’t take away what little I am already given…

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        • Anne B says

          Give up this ship Michele! People who have never worked one day for the school system are on here bashing us getting paid holidys,summers off etc.They don’t see a problem with us not getting raises or a step last year. They don’t even get that there are people who are working for HCPS that make less than $25,000;who will also face a 2% cut.Everyone has their opinion and they are sticking to it! Until they have worked for a school system and see that we are more than teachers…we are their safe house,their moms and dads too….they will never change.How many of you on here remember a special teacher in your life that made a difference? I am sure most of us do. Not many of us have a person in our life that did that;like a teacher. We should work for free! Then they would all be happy. Because God forbid, you say “I need the money”…then we all hate kids and should quit.lol!!!Or should we say,”we have worked in the system for 15 years” and somebody has the nerve to say “what does the amount of years have to do with anything”! Ridiculous. Im sure know one on here has ever asked for a raise,a week off to spend with a family member,a vacation,a “hooky” day-we get summers off remember- to rest and relax on the beach with all the cash our jobs pay us! Im a sure there is no teacher working another job over the summer to compensate themselves for no raise or the bad economy that faces us…..that would be so wrong! lol! (for those of you correcting grammar and bad spelling-sorry writing fast)

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  41. LJ says

    At this time, we aren’t even making ends meet. There is no way we can afford another cut. We were a two teacher household, so there has never been a surplus of money- especially as I taught in a small parochial school. With the economy, our school’s enrollment plummeted. There was no fault on the part of the administration or teachers, but when parents are losing their jobs, paying for private education simply cannot happen. Many of us either lost our jobs (some were lucky enough to be able to retire) or were reduced to part time. After losing my job with the downsizing this fall, the lack of a step or COLA for my spouse, and the increases in health-care costs, we just can’t do it. On top of having far less coming in, it costs over 500.00 per month for prescriptions- and those are only for me. I’m currently substitute teaching (long term) and I know I’ll be up most of the night working on lesson plans for tomorrow, creating final exams for next week and entering final project grades; yet I bring home even less than I did when I taught parochial school. I’m to the point where I feel like giving up. The cost of living keeps increasing, yet our income continues to spiral downward. For every corner I try to cut to save money, a new expense emerges.

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  42. JLo says

    Its too bad that county employees (including teachers) were given nice raises in 2008 when state employees were actually furloughed. Irresponsible decisions lead to irresponsible consequences. It happens as much on the state level as the local.

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    • clarification says

      county employees were given a raise HCPS is a differnt entity HCPS did not recieve any raises.

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    • Peacenik says

      The teachers were given raises in 2008, and the then no step or cola input in 2009. The salary that the teachers earn is not sacrosanct, but the comments that Tracy makes covers many areas that could also be cut in lieu of teacher salaries. The base line for evaluation of the salary cut ought to be from 2008, due to the facts that prop. taxes and assessments were higher during that time than now. The levels of income state, county and country wide have decreased. The property taxes for this county will also decrease, hence a cut in the budget should happen. The homeowners in the county will not be able to continue increasing prop. tax payments if the budget is not addressed- over 57% of the county budget goes for Schools in this county, in addition to federal, and state input. Are we sure there are not wasted funds? I don’t believe it.

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  43. NewerTeacher says

    I hate to be another bitter teacher, and I will admit that 2% sounds relatively insignificant, but just some food for thought:
    Next year will be my 4th year with HCPS. With this 2% cut, no COLA for the past 2 years, no step increase for the past 2 years, and increased cost of benefits, I will be making roughly the same amount I made as a first year teacher. I have received nothing but successful, glowing evaluations in my first 3 years. Even in the current economy I find it difficult to envision a job that would commend my work for three straight years yet not reward me financially. I passed on a job in Balt. Co. because I respected the teachers I had met in Har. Co. and had pleasant experiences with the students, however now I regret that decision. How am I expected to pay off student loans, a car payment, and the cost of everyday life if I remain stuck at 40k for the first 5 years at this job? On top of that, I am required to persue my masters degree while I struggle to pay off my undergrad courses.
    Yes, it seems like alot of this message board is full of very polarized opinions, but the reality of the situation is that HCPS will be losing a lot of great teachers due to economic squabbling. There has to be a better solution than the current ideas, and I highly doubt Dr. Tomback has truly considered every viable option. It pains me to say, but my advice to all new, highly qualified teachers coming out of college is to look elsewhere rather than betting on HCPS. Unfortunately it is the youth of Harford County that will suffer the most from this loss.

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    • RavensFan says

      Newest Teacher – The grass is hardly ever greener. If you were to leave HCPS and obtain a position in BCPS, for example, you would have no reason to believe you’d be more satisfied with your career or salary. I have close friends within 4 districts of MD public schools and all teachers have the same complaints and issues. It comes with the territory of being a public elementary school teacher. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and do nothing. We (teachers) can make a difference and have our voices heard if we speak up. Send letters to your Board of Ed members and County Council members. That’s a start!

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      • Rev Dave says

        To all: After 35 years in the system, I had to retire. There were some low raises like the $20 one. Not being totally stupid, the health benefits were always good. Some things that I learned while teaching were you have to pay if you want the best possible people in everything but teaching, police, etc. Just look at the wonderful crowd we are paying for in Government on both sides of the aisle and get warm fuzzies all over because of the wonderful work they do. Another favorite is telling the public that they are getting “bang for their buck” which just makes teachers etc. feel like Board of Education prostitutes with the politicos as the pimps and said pimps receiving the biggest part of the buck for minimal part of the bang. Another person favorite was being called a “professional” or told to act like a “professional” when some group wants you to give up something and never with the reference to you being on the level of doctors who “practice” medicine or any other perceived professional. That is really rich when you figure that by the time five years have passed after being hired to teach you have at least seven years of college courses under your belt. I could go on but why bother.
        If there were not dedicated men and women in the field of teaching today, I can not imagine where we would be today. There are always some bad apples. Tenure is not my point.
        Enough rambling for now.

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        • Elaine says

          How many years does a teacher need to retire with a full pension? I am amazed at the “Educational Complex” that has evolved over the years. Superintendents (with no experience) making $200,000/year and all of these educrats leaving to become consultants and making $150,000. At the UPPER levels, education is looking like a pretty lucrative career and great job security.

          I agree with many of the teachers on here about the way they are treated, talked about etc. and not listened to. I feel the same way as a parent even though we are told how important we are to our kids’ education and such but don’t dare question anything that is being taught or the delivery system. I hope teachers take this opportunity to tell the Board of Education how they feel about what is going on in their school since they don’t seem to really care what the parents think.

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  44. Realist says

    Cuts always come from the bottom up, not the top down. It doesn’t take a fool to predict that those who work IN the schools will be told that cuts need to come from somewhere…and the cuts will come from them. The Superintendent will protect himself and his own. He will keep his car, his gas allowance, his six figure salary, his discretionary budget for fancy lunches…and those who do the REAL work will take the hit.

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  45. Realist says

    Cuts always come from the bottom up, not the top down. It doesn’t take a genius to predict that those who work IN the schools will be told that cuts need to come from somewhere…and the cuts will come from them. The Superintendent will protect himself and his own. He will keep his car, his gas allowance, his six figure salary, his discretionary budget for fancy lunches…and those who do the REAL work will take the hit.

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    • Tracy says

      YEP!!!!! Right you are…Haas was the same way…Mr. Oneil will keep his salery as well and we will all suffer at the hands of the money hungry power ups…
      1. You can start by cutting the Every Day Math program…and buy into a much cost effective program that actually teaches kids basic math. Elementary school students or any student for that matter does not need 5 math books per student to learn math.
      2. Then you can cut out the amount of paper that is used
      3. Then you can help cut the cost of energy by investing in cost effective equipment.
      4. You can eliminate the need for new turf on ballfields. something the NFL doesn’t even have
      5. You can get rid of half the secretaries in the central office since each central office money grubbing stuck up fool has their own secretary.
      6. You can cut out the IF’s in all schools….make principals responsible for staff development and evaluating teachers.
      7. Heck!!! Why not cut out staff development all together since it is a waste of a teachers time anyway.
      8. If you get rid of staff development then allow teachers to work 180 days like the students. The 2 percent reduction in salery will be about 10 days worth of work. That way, the buildings will close sooner and save energy.
      9. How about cutting the amount of travel that money hungry stuck up central office people have and paid for by the tax payers.
      10. For that matter, why don’t we have central office fill in as substitutes if we must have staff development days. That way, kids can still be in school and we don’t have to pay substitutes.
      11. For all you parents out there. Harford County invested in a new reading program over the summer…each school recieved hundreds of paperback books that go with the new program. You know if you have a new program you must have all that comes with it. Hundreds of books sitting on shelves that will never be touched by kids or used by teachers becasue it is just so much to incorporate into a curriculum jam packed to begin with.
      I can proably come up with more silly but cost effective ways to reduce the budget without cutting the peoples salery that actually make a difference in children’s lives. Remember going to school and learning with just a pencil and a few pices of notebook paper. Copying math problems for homework from the board or even a hard back text book used for a few years and was not consumable.Now teachers can put homework on the computer and kids can get on at home to get the homework and copy on paper or even print out from home. What if we only had to buy pencils, paper, crayons and glue. The money we would save. Especially if parents supplied those items. Just airing out my extreme dislike for central office….

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      • vietnam vet says

        Tracy that was very well said. the people need too know there money is being wasted. the cut’s should start at central office.

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      • blue says

        Tracy: I’m sure everything you wrote is true and then some. The problem is no one in the ivory tower listens to the people in the trenches. And the problem is pervasive in every agency in Harford County. I know many people who work in Public Works, Facilities & Operations, the Sheriff’s Office, etc. There is so much waste, of materials AND personnel. Everyone can see it but those raking in the big bucks won’t do anything that would possibly affect their salaries or positions. So once again, it’s dump on the little guy. I know I am not voting for a single incumbent in the next election–I don’t care about political affiliation, I don’t care about effectiveness or ineffectiveness, all I care about is sweeping house and getting some fresh blood with new ideas, accountability and common sense in government. Irrational? Maybe, but I’m so fed up and that’s the only way I can be heard.

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        • True Patriot says

          I know that employees that work for the goverment in the trenches have been cut to the bone. Layoffs, furloughs and increased benefit costs have put a great burden on these employee’s. This current finacial situation was in part a result of the the School Board building these schools ( some needed and some not ( Red Pump Elementary not)). The budget’s historically for the school board have been 50% to 60% of the entire counties budget. If you want to look for waste the school’s would be a great place to start. The counties work force tried to balance the budget last year so the School Board could continue with business as usual. This year I guess everyone that receives government money will have to chip in.

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      • jimmy says

        Point of fact to comment #8.

        If the 2% were equal to 10 days, you would have to work around 500 days in a year to have it add up. I am not familiar with a calender with that mant days in a year. A little under 4 days would be more realistic.

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  46. Sandy says

    Tracy, I really like a lot of your ideas, but I do like the kids to have text books at home. If there is something they don’t quite understand it gives them a way to look it up. Some teachers will have them read ahead and have them try to figure it out for themselves. I’m not sure what I think of this, esp. in math, but it certainly has it’s merits.

    Many of the teachers we have don’t have the computer know how to post something that would be legible. Yes, I know it’s easy, I update one of the PTSA pages, you should see the scrambled messes we have gotten this way where columns don’t line up. Out teachers really need some computer work. My daughter does the updating for one of her teachers, gradequik and edline.

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  47. Ironic says

    Sandy
    Reading your past comments;Im amazed at your hostility towards teachers.Did you have a rough time in school?Its also seems as if you know everything and teachers know little to nothing.Computer training is updated a lot;maybe your teacher has been around for awhile and is not use to technology.I mean,my kids can do so much more than I can on the computer;its amazing to me.This generation was raised with computers;now ask them to do cursive writing?Did you know that most students today can not do cursive?Why? Cursive writing and handwriting was eliminated from the curriculum. Some teachers still throw it in when they can;but its difficult to do.The reason?Most kids do everything on computers-research,writing, homework etc. Thats why a lot of kids have a hard time when they have to do something w/o electronics.Plus,cursive writing is not a priority to some;since we have computers. Now your child sounds like a real pro on the computer;which is great.That you feel the need to put the teacher down,because your daughter is helping her-is quite sad. You should appreciate that your daughter is gaining independance and probably getting many thanks and applauds from that teacher! Teachers have a full plate;they are moms,dads,guidance counselors. So much more than just teaching goes on with the job of teacher these days.Maybe the teacher has so much going on;they submit stuff to you hoping you would help them out.Isn’t that why schools have a PTA;to help teachers?How many hours do you expect a teacher to work each day?Take work home?Stay after school?What do you consider fair pay?You must be an expert at everything;maybe home schooling your child would be your best option.Then you could criticize yourself for not knowing everything about everything.

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    • Sandy says

      No, I do A LOT of fighting for teachers. The problem is tenure. My kids have had some really horrible teachers, teachers that have no business teaching anyone. And if they have tenure, there is nothing that anyone can do about it. Like my son’s spanish teacher last year. Most of the class was failing. The principal assured us that at the end of the year he would go in and fix the grades and that teacher would be sent on to another school. She couldn’t be fired, she was tenured, but she was passed around to a different school each year, meanwhile her classes had to be kept together so the spanish teacher could teach them spanish 1 and 2 the following year. Craziness. The comment about gradequik? You missed the point. Should my daughter know the rest of the classes’ grades? Yes, she is very discreet, but she probably shouldn’t be in that position. She also grades papers, again, probably not appropriate for a senior.

      I have numerous emails with Dave Volrath, visits to his office, all about fighting for things teachers tell me they need. But teachers have to give a little too and realize they are fortunate to have good health benefits and retirement. When some of the older teachers started that may have been the norm. Not anymore. If you aren’t a government employee you probably don’t have a pension at all.

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      • Ironic says

        GIVE A LITTLE???????????????????? your joking aren’t you? I would like my above questions answered.How much more do you want?

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        • Sandy says

          As far as money, I sincerly hope we can stop the pay cut. I hate to see anyone take a paycut because most people, against better judgement, live paycheck to paycheck. When you take any amount away it changes the way they live. So, hopefully, we can stop any pay cuts.

          As far as understanding, I expect a lot more. Everything teachers make comes directly from us taxpayers who are hurting pretty badly right now, a lot more than 2%. We pay our own health care. My oldest is sick and because of that it is very expensive, more than our mortgage. My husband gets no vacation pay, no personal days, if he isn’t at work he doesn’t get paid. No pension, no retirement. It is up to us to take care of ourselves, we have no taxpayers to depend on. We have one child in college, one starting college next year, one 2 years after if he goes-he hasn’t decided if he is going to college first or going right into the Marine Corp.

          So, no, I don’t want to see anyone take a pay cut. But when we are struggling because of the economy and most of the teachers don’t seem to appreciate any of the benefits they get from the tax payers, well, that’s pretty sad. All 3 of my kids started working at 14 years old and have been contributing to your pay and benefits since then. Maybe that will explain my position a little more clearly.

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            You can stop the pay cut. Tell your elected official that you will vote against them if teachers get a pay cut.

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  48. Ironic says

    I could go on;but it sounds like your life needs more attention then this site;and I would rather not add to what must be frustrating for you.I think you use this site to vent your daily life struggles;and thats probably a good thing.Life is unfair and you feel most teachers have done you wrong.We all have issues going on in our lives. But I feel like the “Big” guys should be cut before the “little” ones. I am a great supporter of our mail carriers, our teachers, firemen/women, our police etc. I would never support any cut that would remove one dime from their pocket.I believe that there are always other places that could be cut first. By the way,my kids have been working since 14 too-I would rather their money go to the teachers-if there money has to go somewhere.Whatever teacher or teachers ticked you off-WOW!

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  49. Teach says

    Sandy, I could go on and on about what you said. As a teacher of HArford County, I am very offended. The only thing I am going to say (because it is seven o’clock, I just home after being at school since seven am, and I still have more work to do tonite) is that arent teachers tax payers as well?!?! WE have to pay taxes, to pay ourselves!! Double whammy for us!!!! O, and notice I have already worked twelves hours today, and I only get paid for 7.5 hours a day – not even 40 hours a week. There is no such thing as overtime or compensation of any kind – our salary is it. Please think about the big picture – walk a day in our shoes and maybe then you will understand.

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    • Sandy says

      Teach, it sounds like you work the hours that most salaried people work. Except they don’t have a contract they can use when they don’t like how things are going and say they are only going to work their contracted hours. My husband is also a salaried employee, self employed computer consultant. He has clients in the UK. When they are doing a major install, he may sleep in his office for an entire weekend. He can’t leave when the bell rings, he has no choice but to stay until the system is up and running. Multiply that by all of his clients and imagine his hours, and we are thankful for everyone of them. He can’t leave a business without their computer system, ever, no matter what is going on at home.

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      • EaglesFan says

        Wow..my husband is a salaried employer, but he doesn’t work 12 hour days and then bring work home. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Don’t judge one unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

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      • DW says

        Sandy,

        I know quite a few people who are salaried and get no OT and most of them don’t work 12 hours a day on a regular basis and then bring work home. I see that argument tossed around quite a bit, but I’m not so sure it’s as common as some people try to make it out to be.

        In any case, the whole bit about “we pay your wages” is bullshit argument anyway. Teachers (and cops, and any other gov’t employee) pay taxes, so really, we’re paying our own wages. The only government employees I know of who don’t pay taxes are our soldiers deployed in combat zones. We all also pay the wages of the cashier at the 7-11, the bagger at the grocery store, the fat cat bank exec, etc. It’s not like that money just appears. It circulates throughout the economy and we ultimately all pay each other’s salaries.

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  50. Ironic says

    Sandy would rather we all work for free and then we have the right to complain-maybe? Apparently, she is very bitter over her husband being gone a lot and feels the need to blame HCPS for her daily life struggles.There is no changing her mind;she says she fights for teachers-hmmm?Also, I think that we chose to enter HCPS for the benefits,retirement and pension;now they are trying to change the deal.Your husband chose his occupation-and so did you;what is your job?Unless you have worked full time for a school system,you have no right giving your opinion on what it is like. It would be like me giving my opinion on being a soldier-I can’t-because I have never been one.I read a lot of your posts;you seem to talk out of both sides of your mouth. I would advise you to do as “Teach” said;walk in our shoes then maybe you will understand.

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    • Kate says

      I am going to defend Sandy here because I know for a fact she has advocated for teachers and students for many years without any compensation! There aren’t too many people in the community who do that so be careful about disparaging the ones who really do. I have seen the paid HCEA representative over the years doing very little for the teachers and that person gets paid.

      I think Sandy is trying to make the point (and believe me she isn’t the only person who feels this way at all) that compared to some people, teachers haven’t had it terrible. I have talked to several people recently who plan to apply for jobs at HCPS just so they can get the benefits. The health care is great, good pension and something else not mentioned here, but job security. My husband was laid off for months with no prospects and I know of several other people who have had the same experience. These are people who are well educated and years of relevant work experience.

      I am more than willing to fight for good teachers and to advocate for better accountability, and I have for many years. On the other hand, when there are ineffective teachers in the system (my kids have had too many over the past 3 years), I am not going to defend that. My kids don’t get a second chance and they get blamed if they don’t know the subject matter. Additionally there are several people in the school like Teacher Specialist, Instructional Facilitator, Teacher Mentor, and the quality of teaching hasn’t necessarily improved.

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    • Sandy says

      Ironic, I don’t see your point. Why would I want someone teaching my children to not be paid for it? How would that make them better teachers? And why would you think I am bitter over my husband being gone a lot? Are you just making stuff up? We are thankful for every client he has. They allowed me to be a home childcare provider until my 3rd child was born. Then allowed me to quit and be a stay at home mom. Now my youngest is 15 and I am fortunate to be in the position to watch my great niece every day while her mommy works without charging her because she just can’t afford childcare. She is 2 and I have had her since she was 7 weeks old. I recently just added a dear friend’s 4 month old, who I also don’t have to charge, a day or 2 a week. The economy is horrible and it is so hard for these new families starting out. It means a lot to me to have these babies home with me and not with a stranger. And the part about blaming HCPS for my husband working, that didn’t make sense to me at all. What do they have to do with it?

      As far as working in the schools? I used to sub, but the teachers rarely left enough instructions for a full day. The exception was kindergarten. Those teachers deserve a special place in heaven. I know it is different in there now, I subbed a few times when it was still 1/2 day and no desk and 22 or so kids who were everywhere! I would never do that job. The other grades up through 8th really weren’t very difficult. I never subbed in high school. After a few years of subbing and getting tired of not having enough of a lesson plan left, I volunteered in the elementary school library checking in books every morning. I enjoyed that, talking to the kids each day. I volunteered doing just about everything in those schools. I served as volunteer coordinator for years, cutting, gluing, making ridiculous numbers of copies.

      The biggest clue is when your kids are looking for a career and you look into what is needed and there are very few teaching positions available. That is because it is a fairly easy job with decent pay and benefits. Otherwise the colleges would be trying to recruit them like the are women engineers. I know teaching has its frustrations, but if it was all fun and games they wouldn’t call it work and pay you to do it.

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      • Jay says

        Sandy – Teaching is an easy job? Seriously? Wow. Sorry, but that is one of the dumbest things that I have ever heard. Working with children is exhausting…how could you not see that if you really worked within a school system as a sub? And once the kids are gone, the mounds of paper work begin. Ah yes, subs go home without the paperwork…maybe that is the source of your ignorance.

        It is one thing to point towards a pay reduction and say teachers have to suck it up and take one for the county…but to pull a statement out of your arse like that shows ignorance and leads me to believe you are not as involved as you would like us to believe.

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        • Sandy says

          Jay, I never said teaching wasn’t frustrating, but hard is a whole different thing. What are you comparing it to? How about a Biomedical Engineer for instance? Have you checked out the SAT scores required to get into a teaching program compared to say Pharmacy school? And I guess you aren’t one of the teachers who teach the anti bullying program because name calling is sure not a mature way to handle disagreements. Is this the way you act when a student disagrees with you in class? You call them dumb and sit them in the back of the class. Or maybe you just don’t have the skills to debate on a reasonable level.

          And I’ve said numerous times, but maybe you have a problem paying attention when you are angry. I don’t think teachers should take a pay cut. But I do believe that there should be a bit of thankfulness for a pension and health insurance.

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          • Jay says

            Sandy – if you look the term up (which I always encourage kids to do), you will find that ignorance means “lacking knowledge or awareness.” If you think that I am misleading you about the term’s definition, merriam-webster.com is a great resource. Sorry if you took the word out of context. But hey, it happens. And when my students misunderstand, misread, or misinterpret, I calmly direct them to the proper resources so that they can corret their errors…like I am doing now.

            I don’t know how to post a link, so I will post this web address. Please look at it for a few minutes.

            http://hcps.org/departments/humanresources/vacancies.aspx?tab=5

            Colleges may not be recruiting, but you can see at the above link, Harford County is recruiting teachers in a very active manner. Otherwise, why would there be over 20 visits to colleges, universities, job fairs, etc.? I am sure it isn’t to sight-see or to take in local cuisine. They are recruiting professionals because teachers are needed every school year.

            Without good teachers, no one would be able to be admitted into Pharmacy school. Someone needs to teach them the chemistry, biology, mathematics, psychology, and any other relevant information needed to be successful at such an institution. Where would that come from? Certainly not through osmosis! It comes from educators in the school system.

            It is very hard work. It is demanding and consumes hours of time outside of the instructional component. And if you do it right, you see kids grow cognitively and mature into great adults.

            It is among the most noble of professions. Working with kids is an honor and a joy. Easy? No. Rewarding? Yes. It is sad that it is the first place that is looked at when cuts are needed…especially when you have non-educators making a lot more money within the same system.

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          • First Citizen says

            Would that be the retirement program that the state has emptied to cover other expenses and is trying to dump on the counties? The program the we are making larger contributions to because they can’t cover current outlays?

            Would that be the benifits that are being bumped up for the third year in a row and copay’s increased while coverage is reduced?

            I supposed we should be happy with the low cost of housing and low crime rates as well…

            Those arguments that people in this county have used forever don’t work anymore. This is the stuff Harford County has used to justify being in the bottom 5 for paying teachers while we were providing top 5 testing results, students going to college rates, AP scores…

            GET REAL!

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      • Teach says

        Sandy, as a kindergarten teacher, the job has TOTALLY changed since 1/2 day. I just wish you could walk a day in our shoes, and actually see what it is like. Especially at a time like now when we have to do report cards, and assessments and pointless staff development meetings. Like others have said, we choose our career (us teachers and you and your husband). Job security is not really the truth with us – positions get cut, schools close down. OOO and about our pay, if you break it down per child, I would make more baby sitting 20 kids – i get paid 1.30 an hour per child a day – does that sound fair?!?!

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        • Sandy says

          Teach, I don’t know what full day is like but I know that 1/2 day was a zoo, lol. I don’t know how you kept up. If the report cards are the same as they used to be, they were ridiculous. not meeting, meeting, exceeding. Or something along those lines. You must have to start the first of the year. We met with some BOE members and told them those report cards meant nothing to parents so don’t make the teachers waste their time on them. Too much information that is unclear.

          As far as your babysitting question, no, you would make less than that. My daughter works at one of the local daycares and makes less than that per child. Did you remember to count your pension and health insurance in the $1.30.

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          • Teach says

            Sandy,
            Honeslty, I just keep track of my salary. I am 25 years old. I will be lucky if when I retire, I still have a pension/retirement, social security. As far as health insurance, as of right now it is great, you are right. But i believe part of the negotations was that it was going to get cut in some way shape or form too. I dont mean this with any disrespect, but honestly i hope your daughter would make less than me in a daycare center. I think it is unfair in any profession that people with masters are getting less than people with undergrad degrees, much less high school diplomas. I know everyone is struggling with the economy, but personally, it is very degrading to be told you might be getting a paycut, when you already feel like nothing is ever good enough. To me the higher ups and admin talk a big game when they say the teachers are the best, yadda, yadda, yadda, but they dont understand. If you have a bad observation, they put you on an assistance plan. Doesnt matter if you had a migraine or if JOhnny is off his meds or that it is 85 degreees in your room because people cant come out to fix the heaters. I am fortunate to have heat, but when the room next door is 62 degrees, thats a problem. Anyways, I just think we have to see what happens in the long run. I just have a feeling regardless a lot of teachers are going to have to do a lot of thinking and planning in order to pay the bills, myself included. Just sucks – with an undergrad and graduate degree in early childhood, what else is there really to do?!?!?

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          • Sandy says

            Teach, in the real world you wouldn’t have those benefits so don’t discount them like they mean nothing. Your salary would be higher if your benefits were less, that’s HCEA doing your bargaining for you. In the next budget there is an increase in the amount spent on health insurance so I hope your benefits don’t lessen any.

            One thing we really stressed to our children is to make sure you can make a decent living on the job you choose. They know what our bills are and what different careers pay. We didn’t want them to choose a career that wouldn’t pay enough to support the lifestyle they wanted. I made that mistake. I started going to school to work in a medical lab. I found out that I would make much more being a home child care provider. So I quit college when I got married, started my daycare, and had my kids. We were better off that way.

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        • Teach says

          I know it would not be legal…it was just a random point. But you replied to one of of posts saying that in the ‘real wor;d’ i would not have those benefits?!?!?! What the *^%$ ius the real world. What am in living in?? And what are you talking about saying those benefits dont exist??? My dad and sister work for the government. They get every other friday off, ton of holidays, good insurance, good retirement (more than me), o and my sister will be making double than me in a few months – she has been working for the governemt for about seven months, just has an undergrad degree. So what world are they living in?!?!?!?! O and about this whole Towson saying HCPS kids struggle more – I went to Towson. My professors have no freaking idea where the heck I was from. For all they know I could have been from Jersey – like 75 percent of the kids who go to Towson. I have no idea where you get your facts. You speak a big game (like administration) yet you have no idea what it is like for us (like administration). Why do you think administrators leave teaching to become principals?!?!?! My principla flat out has told us, that she would never go back into the classroom. Gee real comforting.

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      • DW says

        Teaching is easy? You may have been an advocate for teachers in the past, but that statement alone loses you quite a bit of credibility.

        Subbing and teaching are completely different. Subbing (unless you’re a long term sub) doesn’t require you to do much of anything beyond showing up, keeping the kids under control, and following whatever plans the teacher left. You don’t have to do lesson planning, grade papers, run various clubs, and everything else that full time teachers do. I used to sub (high school) prior to getting into law enforcement and that was pretty easy. My wife is a teacher and I see how much work she has to do on a daily basis and there’s absolutely no comparison to subbing.

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        • Sandy says

          DW, seriously, why do you think so many people become teachers? Is it the fame? The money? Of course not. It’s the hours, being off in the summer with your kids, and it isn’t all that hard. Frustrating, yes, but there are so many bad teachers out there that it clearly isn’t that hard of a profession to get into. We have high unemployment and still plenty of teachers. Colleges are recruiting for plenty of jobs, teaching isn’t one of them.

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          • Jay says

            Sandy – Sorry, you are guilty of stereotypical thinking. Saying that the reason why so many people become teachers “is due to the hours” is insane. Are there some? Sure! But EVERY profession, even bio-medical engineers, have their share of arses. It is almost like saying that people go into law enforcement because they want to be able to bully people legally. Ridiculous…but there are some in that boat! I would say that if you actually spent quality time in a school you would find that most in the profession are there because they want to work with kids and actually have a job that is meaningful to society. Again, I KNOW that each school has a handful that really need to get THE BOOT and forced to find other work. But they are the minority. Not only do parents know who they are, but teachers know who they are. Unfortunately, their tenure offers them a security blanket and they remain in positions that they should not have. Our “association” (HCEA) does our profession more harm than good by protecting them and allows thoughts like yours to be commonplace.

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          • DW says

            Sure, some do go into teaching because they think it’ll be easy, get their summers, weekends, and holidays off, etc. A lot of the ones who go into the field for those reasons don’t last long. Most are there because they want to teach kids and the good ones put in many more hours than the 7.5 mandated by their contract (my wife for example typically works at least 10 hrs/day, frequently 12, and sometimes as many as 14+.) Some teachers show up right at the time they are required and are in their cars leaving as soon as the kids are on the buses and gone.

            Just because some teachers are lazy wastes of space who do a half-assed job and have no business teaching doesn’t mean it’s an easy job. Using that standard you can make virtually any job seem easy.

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          • Sandy says

            Jay, You are wrong. There are lots of teachers who choose that career because they want summers off with their kids. What’s wrong with that? They have a long winter and spring break with them. And whether or not you like to admit it, many of them come to school with their kids and leave with them in the afternoon in elementary school. They may spend time grading papers at home, but they aren’t staying after school to help anyone. Not only have I been a childcare provider for teachers, I’ve talked to teachers about their childcare arrangements. When you are in the schools every day the teachers become your friends. I’m sure that there are teachers who work a lot of time, but there are also a lot who don’t. As long as they do what their contract requires they are doing their job.

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          • Sandy says

            DW, not really. The difference is that if teachers do a poor job they are protected. In a private job they would be fired.

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          • Jay says

            Sandy – That may be true for elementary schools, I honestly cannot respond to that.

            At the high school level, it is a bit different. Teachers are constantly staying after school for test make-ups, tutoring, and club sponsorships. While some of these clubs are paid positions, some are not. A teacher at my school is the “sponsor” of the bowling club. Every Monday night, they meet at Forest Hill and compete against other high schools. According to her, it takes about 3 hours of her Monday, all after school, and she gets paid ZERO for her time. She does it for the kids. High school teachers are required to complete 9 hours of supervision duty per year, all pro-bono. I personally started a meteorology club at my school, which meets every afternoon for approximately 45 minutes. My pay? ZILCH. Point is, at my school teachers are constantly staying past the 2:10 dismissal. Do some leave? As I said, yes. But they are some and we know who they are.

            Again, those who go into teaching for summer reasons are in it for the wrong reasons. It is still a minority, but you are free to believe otherwise. Again, those that are here for that reason are the ones leaving with the kids!

            Oh…in case you wondered….I am on my duty-free lunch….my 25 minutes of quiet time!

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          • Sandy says

            Jay, It does seem like high school and elementary schools are a lot different. And I don’t understand the 25 minutes for lunch for teachers or students. I worked with Gary from foods and nutrition because we were having a terrible time with kids not getting through the lunch line with enough time to eat. He can look up the line times on a computer from his office and our school was way over. If it is a problem at your school I would encourage someone from your school to give him a call. He came out and he, Linda, our principal, and I met and solved the problem in about 20 minutes. They are very open to working with the schools to help.
            But 25 minutes is such a short break time. With all the wasted block schedule time I think they could fit in a little extra.

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      • Ironic says

        Sandy
        Not making stuff up…I have read your other posts.”My husband is also a salaried employee, self employed computer consultant. He has clients in the UK. When they are doing a major install, he may sleep in his office for an entire weekend. He can’t leave when the bell rings, he has no choice but to stay until the system is up and running. Multiply that by all of his clients and imagine his hours, and we are thankful for everyone of them. He can’t leave a business without their computer system, ever, no matter what is going on at home.” SOUND FAMILIAR????? It just sounded a little bitter.
        Plus, I think you might have a “marter complex” too.Great you dont charge people;woohoo for you!

        You don’t think we deserve things because your life has its difficulties. It seems you harp on the issues in your own life;without one shred of experience in the teaching field. Just because you substituted or in the PTA-does not make you an expert. Now you have Kate helping you out….sorry Kate-are you a teacher? If you are;then maybe you should go back and reread her past comments.I find it funny you all are even commenting on a field you have no experience in.As I said before;I dont get on this site and comment on something I have absolutely no experience in.

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        • Sandy says

          Ironic, you don’t comment on something you have absolutely no experience in? Funny, you seem to pretend you know all about me when you obviously have no idea about working as a community.

          How many BOE meetings have you attended when the issue was something you felt was bad for the kids. Usually there are 3 or 4 of us there. But when the issue is teacher pay the room is packed! Talk about ironic. I have teachers lecturing me, I’m there advocating for you, why aren’t you there advocating for my children? Teachers like to say they are there for the children but it all comes down to the bottom line, money. It’s a job. Come to a BOE meeting. Tell the board the policies that are harming the children. Talk about the block schedule and everyday math, we have. Tell them things that are working well that you would like to see more of, we have done that too. Tell them something a great teacher or principal has done, yes, we have done that too. Tell them we need more teachers, that it isn’t fair to give them more work because of the block schedule, I have. But as I said before, teachers don’t come to BOE meetings unless their money or their time is affected. Yes, very ironic indeed!

          I have a lot more experience working within the school system then you do working in the private sector, you don’t seem to have a problem commenting on that. And I’ll let Kate give you her own credentials. Let’s just say you spoke too soon.

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          • Ironic says

            Sandy,I dont comment on anything that I do not participate in;unlike you. Please dont fight for us;that would be like Michael Vick fighting for Animal Rights!Every other professiona can ask for a raise;when teachers do it-its evil cause they should work for the love of the job. The love of the job is not going to pay BGE. Good luck Sandy;Im done with your continuous lack of knowledge on a subject you know nothing about.I wont be commenting further on this subject.Im sure you will continue the “fight”-but for who-hmmm?

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          • Ironic says

            I actually go to BOE meetings now and again(had a close relationship with Haas-we did not always agree;but we were respectful). But atually, I work another job on top of the full time one I have at HCPS-and one of my days is Monday nights.However, I do write letters a lot.lol! Sorry I did not answer your question;you yourself have not always answered mine. I got a little distracted with your nonsense spilling all over the page. I advocate for teachers,paraeds,techs,custodians etc. You can advocate for your own children. My children,who currently attend HCPS(high school), do their job and they know that every teachers expectations are different(kind of like real life).I have 2 kids on honor roll(and they work 20 hours a week). We have never had one problem involving a teacher;they have always gone completely out of their way for us. My husband works for BCPS and another job also.Anything else?

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          • Sandy says

            Never had one problem involving a teacher? I’m sure that has nothing to do with professional courtesy. As I said in another post, my oldest daughter’s physics teacher had a line of kids out his door every time he posted grades, which he would never do except on mid terms and report cards because he lost so many labs. I didn’t believe it until I was with my daughter and saw her hand the teacher 3 labs that she later got 0′s on because she didn’t turn them in. Sorry, I was right there and watched her hand them to him. And that is just one in a bunch of instances. Of course they are helpful to you, you are another teacher.

            If you do work as a teacher because you do it for the kids, why wouldn’t you comment at BOE meetings to try to make things better for them? You are willing to advocate for your friends at school but not the kids you care so much about? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

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        • Ironic says

          Hey Jay

          You’ll get no pity from Sandy-her husband gets no lunch at all…..!lol
          You should work during your lunch-you get summers off-you sloucher.lol!!!It doesnt matter that most of us work,take classes or work a second job during the summer.She doesnt get it;will never get it.But she will have tons of opinions on it;looking from her home into what she THINKS a teacher’s job and perks are.Welcome to Oz!Follow the yellow brick road-where teachers work 7.5 hrs and have summers off with lavish vacations.Have you seen my dog toto?

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