The following email was distributed to Harford County Public Schools staff:
Last night, the County Council approved the County Executive’s legislation with amendments to authorize a payment of $625 for all county employees. Additional amendments established and approved by the County Council require the legislation for the remaining $625 payment to be brought forth again in the spring for consideration. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreements, the Board of Education entered into discussions in November 2011 with the five employee bargaining units to potentially amend the contracts to allow for the receipt of the stipend and reached an agreement with four of those units.
On Friday, December 9th, negotiating teams representing the Harford County Educational Services Council (HCESC) and the Board met and reached agreement on an addendum to the 2011-12 contract that will provide the one-time stipend to its members once the funding was approved by the County Council. Three other collective bargaining units previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow for the receipt of the stipend, once approved. The employees represented by the four units that reached an agreement with the Board, as well as all *excluded employees, will receive a payment of $625, pro-rated for part-time staff, either by check or bank deposit on Monday, December 19th. The pay stipend is subject to tax withholding, including any additional tax withholding amounts designated by the employee. The pay stipend will not have any benefit deductions (i.e. retirement contributions or health insurance premiums). The stipend will be distributed in the same manner as your regular payroll payment. For staff members with direct deposit to several accounts, your pay stipend will be distributed amongst all accounts based on your direct deposit selections.
The four units receiving the stipend are:
1. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
2. Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors of Harford County (APSASHC)
3. Association of Harford County Administrative, Technical and Supervisory Professionals (AHCATSP)
4. Harford County Educational Services Council (HCESC)
Harford County Education Association (HCEA) has elected not to respond to the offer regarding the bonus payment. The Board of Education will continue to reach out to HCEA in order to reach an agreement as it is the hope of the Board to distribute this payment to all staff before the holidays. The legislation adopted last night by the County Council allows this offer for payment to be open until March 31, 2012, at which time any additional funds that have not been distributed must be placed back in the county government’s fund balance.
*Excluded employees are those employees who are excluded from a bargaining unit due to the nature of their job function within the school system.
Teresa D. Kranefeld
Manager of Communications
HCPS teacher says
Of COURSE HCEA didn’t bargain… the teachers are getting angry and restless… I wonder if the thought of losing a significant amount of members would change their mind.
Thomas Paine says
It’s the stupid teachers that are getting angry and restless over a $1250 bonus. These bonuses are a distraction from the renegotiations. Keep you eye on the ball and get involved. Demand salary step increases. Don’t give up on the one organization that is the voice for teachers, otherwise you will get absolutely nothing. Stop being “instantly gratified” Americans and think about the long term.
Why in the hell didn’t the teachers union agree???
I thought the union had agreed,wow!! When people could really use money!!!
Jay Cheuvront says
Calling someone “Stupid” for not agreeing with you is a great way to support HCEA. This stipend is just a bone that was thrown to us from Craig. It has zero to do with negotiations. The union is just doing what it does best, screwing over it’s members.
Thomas Paine says
Oh no, I’m not calling them stupid because they disagree with me. I’m calling them stupid because they are stupid “dogs” waiting for a bond from the table. And a bone is exactly what these bonuses are, but I am not a dog who is waiting for scraps from the table. Teachers need to stop acting like dogs and stand up like the professionals we are. The County Executive needs to sac up compensate teachers through the required negotiating procedures. Or he can do it this way and divide us…I think he did a nice job of that.
HCPS Parent says
HCPS teachers deserve nothing. They are overpaid as it is. This is why my kids have left the school system. They did a very poor job at trying to educate my kids. They should pay us to allow them to teach.
Thomas Paine says
Did you ever think that maybe your kids’ teachers were so bad because that was the best that harford county was willing to pay for? Overpaid? You should see how much teachers get paid in th rest of the state. You get what you pay for. For the most part harford county does a great jod of educating students, but there are holes that are tough to fill and those holes arE getting bigger because the low salaries.
You do the job!!! They are very underpaid!!! Wow how ungrateful! Ever think it might have been your child that was the problem???
HCPS non parent thank GOD says
It wasnt my kid, it was the teachers…. They are getting paid what they deserve. Get off your high horse and see it for what it is. HCPS teachers cant teach and it shows in their pay. You reap what you sew. Stop blaming everyone else for their inability to do their job. You sure don’t see this in private schools. That is the only proof one needs to see. Good luck with all of the parents who chose to stay in public school. Your kid will be working for my kid.
I went K-12 in HCPS schools…now I have my PhD. I had great teachers and other staff. You are very narrow minded. Sorry; you need to face the facts.
First of all: you reap what you sow. If you are going to spout off about HCPS teachers from your high horse, at least do it correctly.
I hope your children do well in their private school. Mine have been able to succeed quite well in the Public School system, as evidenced by their grades as well as their standardized test scores. Of course, they work hard. When they do occasionally bring home a bad grade, they face the consequences of that. We do not play the blame game in our house. Of course, I am sure anything that your children did not excel at could not have been their fault.
Are you serious? My children received a very good education via HCPS. If you weren’t happy with the teachers your children had, maybe you should have changed venues. I assure you that not all teachers are bad. Most are very good. I will grant you that there are some teachers need to be given the boot! But to say that all teachers are “garbage” is unfair and quite silly.
I am glad that your children found private school a successful experience. It has been my experience that private schools are much easier and have fewer standards than the public school. After all, they want your money. But I won’t dare say that ALL private schools are overpriced and easy. That would be a ridiculous comment.
Anne Marie says
I feel the need to address 2 points here – the lack of HCPS teachers to offer a good education, as well as the topic of teachers demanding more pay (you reap what you sow).
It is not always the teacher’s fault if they student does not apply themselves to learn the materials presented. Heaven knows, many laws are in place to all but have someone complete the work for them to be sure that they get an education. But at the end of the day, the student still has to apply themselves or they will not succeed, no matter what the teacher, parents, anyone does to help them.
My son used to be in the HCPS and he was not challenged academically. I then sent him to private school (which I believe was quite academically challenging for most students) and never felt they were out for my money. (We are no longer there because I have had some major medical bills and am no longer able to pay tuition.) Overall, I am thankful that I am now able to home school, which has been the best choice for him. He’s a junior taking senior level classes and is not the least bit affected by the normal high school drama, drugs and violence that happens in most schools (private or public). He is socially stimulated in a variety of ways and I feel that he will have a much better personal and career life because of the foundation I have been able to provide for him.
All this to be said – public school teachers in any district have their hands full with much more than just teaching their students. Because parents aren’t “parenting” these teachers are burdened with all kinds of issues that have historically been dealt with at home. Additionally, they deal with such ill behavior from the students that it’s amazing that any teaching/learning can even happen in the classroom. This is the main reason I left teaching 7 years ago. I taught high school science in Texas for a whopping $17,000 a year. And for that, I could never take a day off because substitutes were so scarce, I covered detention every day until 5:00 p.m. with no extra pay, and had my personal safety at risk all the time (have had classroom items thrown at me…verbally assaulted and even spit upon.) Students didn’t care and to them, school is a necessary evil. The school district had to provide police officers for the school, this kids were “wanded” with security wands upon entering the school and let me tell you, were were not in the city! We were in a community very comparable to Bel Air! I got to school at 6:30 p.m. and often didn’t leave until 5:30 p.m. (without a planning time during the day like HCPS teachers get so I was often grading in the evenings after I spent a few hours with my own family) Remember the sub shortage? I could not do my CEU credits during the school year because I couldn’t get coverage in the classroom, therefore had to cram them all in the summer, around teaching summer school, which I had to teach for financial reasons. And yes, we were required to get a Master’s degree which I had to not only find time to take the classes, but on that salary could not afford to take them so I took out more student loans.
All this to say is that I see both sides of the fence – being a public school teacher in our culture today is very hard. I don’t envy them at all. Could they make more money and get “what they are worth” out in the corporate world, sure. But money is not the reason you become a teacher and is certainly not what makes you a good teacher. You have chosen this honorable profession and you knew it didn’t pay well. Period. Stop the griping for raises, etc. when there are SO many people that would love to have a job right now. Be thankful that you have one, continue to do your job and when things get better, so will your salary, but unfortunately it will never compare to other professions.
Do you teach for HCPS? I did for many years, our teachers are the best! If you want to make change, become a teacher and make the change that you want to see.
FORMER HCPS Teacher says
Congratulations HCEA on NOT accepting the bonus every one else in the county will be getting because you don’t want it to be given in lieu of raises. Great job…now, not only will you not get raises next year, you’ll be the only group in the county that screwed your constituants out of the bonus too…you really showed ’em!
Isn’t that the truth!! I guess Randy Cerveney makes enough money and his Christmas shopping is done!
WOW….Stupid is as stupid does. The taxpayers want this returned to them, if they did the math, it equates to a whopping $8 per household!!! The teachers union just wants to take all the monies and screw the rest of the school employee in the other unions.
I predict this some members of hcps will get money on Monday, and the teachers won’t. Then on Tuesday hcea will see a massive drop in membership.
How much money is hcps getting? Is that enough to fund the raises? If it isn’t then the whole renogiating thing isn’t worth it?
It sounds like a big pissing contest to me.
If I am reading this correctly, there was a negotiated agreement where raises were agreed upon. Next, the agreement was not funded due to the “lack of funds.” Now, the county has funds that it claimed it didn’t have. I think the HCEA wants the agreement funded.
I can understand that…but if it was me, I would want the bonus NOW.
I really feel for the teachers in this case, because they’re caught in the middle of a big power struggle. The county is “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” because extending a “bone” is seen as a slap in the face, while not doing anything would have been seen as further disrespect of its employees. For the unions, taking the offer is seen (by some) as selling out, while not taking the offer will likely cause a further rift in the union base. Here’s a thought…..let each employee DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES what is best for their situation and their family!
If teachers want to be treated like “professionals” (which I believe most do…and most are), then let them act like “big boys and girls” without having big brother negotiating on their behalf. Unions may have been useful in the past, but their desire for self-preservation and power at the expense of its members will be its undoing.
I think teachers are underpaid. In an ideal world, all employees should at least get a COLA adjustment, even though the government continues to state that inflation isn’t a problem….except for food and energy costs!
We as a society have our values way out of order. The same people that think teachers are paid too much are likely the same people that wouldn’t think twice about spending $100 to have their picture taken with a Kardashian. You reap what you sow.
Paul Mc says
Let’s look at the big picture here. Would a teacher rather get a one time $625 bonus, or would they rather get the county to honor the contract that was signed; a contract which includes yearly step increases? Umm…maybe its just me, but I think the step increase is much better than the one time bonus.
Now, I think some of you might say that this isn’t a ‘get A or get B’ situation, but it really is. With contract and labor negotiations, anything that is done over the course of business activities can be used to demonstrate acceptance or compliance. So, in essence, if the teacher’s union accepts the bonus without it being negotiated, when the labor negotiations go forward, the county government can say that since the board accepted the bonus, they have, in essence, agreed to not negotiate certain terms of the contract, in this case, an aspect of pay. It is not all black and white like many are making it out to be. Were I a member of the teachers union, which I am not, there is no way I would accept the bonus, especially with the current contract situation, and the bad faith negotiating that the county has been found to have committed. I think the sacrifice of the $625 will be well worth it in the long run, but that is just my opinion.
Anyways, have a nice day.
What about that teacher that is going to retire at the end of this year or sometime year, they may see the full amount in the short time they have left. Please keep in mind there are teachers in HCPS with only 10 to 15 years that can retire. Let’s be fair. Not everyone that retires is on the highest step.
The county ex. has stated that this is one time money, his office is not sure if the same money will be there or not next year and in years to follow.
That is why the discussion of a step Never occured with Craig. There is extra money right now because the county didn’t need something that was put in the budget, and Craig wanted to reward ALL county employees for not having gotten their steps in years and for still be dedicated to their jobs.
The idea that this is debatable is wrong. The option is take the money or take nothing. The bonus has nothing to do with teachers getting or not getting their step next year. It is a gift from Craig to all county employees. It really is that simply.
Why the teachers’ union decided not to accept this gift is beyond me.
Thomas Paine says
Why the HCEA did not accept the bonuses should not escape you. Craig cannot by law provide any compensation directly to county employess. All compensation must be negotiated with each labor group through their employing agencies. It’s that simple. What Craig intended to do was bypass state law with these bonuses, which makes him either ignorant, incompetent, a cheat or all of the above. Now the money that he has made available to teachers is going to be negotiated. Either way teachers will get this money, but hopefully it will be in the form of permanent salary steps.
The money Craig has made available has nothing to do with getting a step or not getting a step. These ideas are seperate.
Thomas Paine says
You are wrong. The money he made availabe can be negotiated between HCPS and HCEA. The county executive cannot tell HCPS how to spend their money. HCPS and HCEA have to negotiate that money which could lead to that money being used to fund salary steps. Mr. Craig may not want that, but he does not have control over it.
Thomas Paine, you like to inject your opinions about Craig’s rationale for giving the bonuses. You are either Randy Cerveny or a jackass because you do not know what you are talking about. It is your conjecture.
I will ask again. Is there enough money to fund the steps for all hcps employees? If there isn’t then their should be no real renegotiation.
Thomas Paine says
The HCEA does not represent all county employees and only negotiates with HCPS. HCPS employees are not bound by what the labor groups responsible for other county employees negotiate. You may not like it, but that is how it is. And I believe that teachers should get a salary step regardless of what happens to the rest of the county employees because I am a teacher. Other county employees need to stand up and fight to get what they deserve as well.
Honestly, all this complaining from a select few vocal teachers really does nothing but dramatically hurt your cause. If any county employees have legitimate grounds for complaint it’s the ones who aren’t HCPS or HCSO and have had multiple furlough days over the past two years combined with increased benefit costs and no steps or COLA’s. You don’t see them on here running their mouths about how they’re not taking a small bonus because they deserve their steps. I’ve also heard certain teachers claim (in public where anyone could overhear them) that the entire surplus should go to the HCPS to fund their steps and screw the rest of the county. I’m sure it’s only a select few who are saying or thinking that, but quite frankly that’s incredibly offensive to every other county employee. Some of you really need to learn when to just keep your mouths shut and vent your frustrations in private and that includes posting on here. It doesn’t help your cause and it pisses off a lot of other people, including potential allies. It’s the same as what was happening on here during the last sheriff election with current and former HCSO employees (and several who were neither) spreading rumors and airing dirty laundry on here. It just makes everyone look bad.
Hey, I want my step increases as much as everyone else does, but a good chunk of this surplus came from taxes on that winning lottery ticket sold in Abingdon a couple months ago. That’s not exactly a revenue source the county can count on every year. With property values and incomes (property taxes and income taxes being the main sources of funds for the county) continuing to decline the county revenue certainly isn’t going up. Add that the people who seem to believe that getting a whopping $8 back on their property taxes makes any difference at all in their household budget, refusing a small bonus and expecting a step increase instead right now is foolish. I just glad my wife and I aren’t both teachers. At least one of us will be getting something and the HCEA might lose another member because how they’re handling this.
I don’t think teachers are “stupid dogs” for one. I do agree that they are over worked and under paid. It must be frustrating to go to your job and teach. Especially since the way you have your hands tied. Your class is only as smart as the dumbest kid; you can only go as fast as the slowest. I only have a small personal experience of substituting a few years and even without the burden of lesson plans and dealing with the political B.S. I saw this. But let’s also, let’s keep in mind that the HCEA isn’t the only union that negotiated for raises and didn’t get them. Why are the teachers the exception when no one else is getting raises? Trust me; EVERYONE would rather have a raise. Let’s face facts; the County didn’t have to extend a bonus to ANYONE. They could have kept it for capital projects, saved it or extended just to Harford County Employees and left out Sheriff’s Office and Schools. Do I think there is political motivation here? Heck yeah! 2012 is an election year. But there isn’t enough to guarantee increases as an ongoing expense for any of the unions that negotiated for increases. HCEA can’t see this? They are holding out for bigger and better and the fact is there might not be bigger or better coming. Being greedy will get you left with nothing. The way HCPS and HCEA negotiate this in (or out) of the increases has nothing to do with Mr. Craig. I for one am glad David Craig is standing his ground on this. Take the one time gift he’s offering or take nothing.
Ryan Burbey says
The Bel Air Town Commissioners will introduce a budget amendment Monday night to transfer funds from the town’s contingency account into various departments to fund a 2% cost of living adjustment for employees.
Hmmm…I wonder how much the county is sitting on?