An agreement was announced Friday that may pave the way for teachers to each receive $625 originally proposed by County Executive David Craig as a one-time employee bonus. Randy Cerveny, president of the Harford County Education Association representing teachers, sent a message to members Friday saying that the Harford County Board of Education had agreed to enter into negotiations over the bonus funds beginning on Feburary 1, and that he was hopeful the matter would be quickly resolved. Cerveny later declined to speculate as to the outcome of the negotiations.
Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for Haford County Public Schools confirmed the agreement, saying that the union had accepted the school board’s offer extended in November to negotiate the funds. Asked whether the negotiations could determine whether the money would be considered a one-time bonus or part of teachers’ base pay, Kranefeld wrote in an email, “The Board understands that HCEA has agreed to negotiate the disbursement of the one-time funds. “ Kranefeld also said that any agreement reached between the school board and the union was dependent upon the approval of Harford County Executive David Craig and the County Council.
After proposing a one-time bonus for all county employees in October, County Executive David Craig later vetoed the funding for the teacher bonuses in reaction to a plan by the union to ask the Maryland Public Labor Relations Board to consider the bonus money as a potential source of increases to teachers’ base pay in pending labor renegotiations. As a result of Craig’s veto, the bonus was not paid to the 3,200 school employees represented by the teachers union but was paid in December to other school staff and to all other county employees.
Cerveny said Friday that the new agreement to negotiate the one-time bonus money was separate from the union’s case still pending before the Labor Board, which involves the teachers’ contract for the 2-11-12 school year.
Below is the message Cerveny sent to HCEA members on Friday, January 27, 2012:
HCPS has agreed to negotiate the one-time payment from the County Council without jeopardizing our position with the Labor Board. HCEA and the school system plan to enter into negotiations on February 1, 2012 and hope to settle the matter quickly. I am glad that the school system is willing to uphold the collective bargaining law and work to do what’s right for our teachers.
Negotiating this funding is an important part of doing what’s right for our county by investing in our schools and children’s future. We must ensure that Harford County is competitive with neighboring school systems so that we can recruit and retain the outstanding educators that our children deserve.”