The president of the Harford County Education Association, which represents teachers in Harford County Public Schools, has issued the following call for union members to attend a presentation on the availability of county funds to be given to the Harford County Board of Education on May 21st by the union’s outside financial expert, R.J. Pellicoro. The union is involved in a dispute with the school board over raises negotiated for the current school year. Contract negotiations for next year have taken place between the school board and the union, but no agreement between the parties has been announced.
The following message from President Randy Cerveny was posted on the Harford County Education Association Web site:
In talking with many of you, it’s obvious that you are tired and frustrated, having lived on a declining income for the last three years with little relief in sight. When you entered the field of teaching you understood that you would never get rich, but believed that your income would increase a little each year to a point you would be able to survive. Several years ago, many of you made financial decisions based on a salary schedule that has now stagnated. I understand that you feel disillusioned with a school system that does not advocate for adequate educational funding for its students, or its employees, in a county that does not prioritize education.
The financial crisis has caused almost everyone to adjust priorities. You are doing what you need to do to maintain your primary job, teaching, while many of you work at least one part-time job. For some, a part-time job has caused you to cut back on what you do for your students beyond your normal work day. The times you have stayed after school to help struggling students, or provided enrichment, are fewer and fewer. I understand your anguish in having to stop doing so many of the extra things that you used to do to enhance the education of your students.
I know some of you have even considered taking a job in another county school system, one that values its teachers more. I understand that– but I am asking you to consider staying in the fight here in Harford County. Our county finances are relatively healthy. We need to speak up so the county funds of our schools adequately.
I know some of you are considering dropping your Association membership to “give yourself a raise.” This is particularly unwise, partly because it leaves you vulnerable to the on the job problems and accusations of wrong-doing or poor performance. But even more, it weakens the one voice, the one vehicle you have to work in an organized way to improve schools and protect your standard of living.
I am urging you, pleading with you, to join HCEA in the fight for adequate funding of our schools and your salaries. Many of you stepped forward to email the County Council and Board of Education on HCEA’s Days of Action, April 30th and May 1st. We need to continue this effort in taking action around the General Assembly Special Session on the state budget. We need you to come to the Board of Ed Meeting on May 21st to hear HCEA’s and HCESC’s presentation on the availability of county funds from our Association’s outside financial expert, R.J. Pellicoro. Join us before hand at 5PM in the Bel Air High School for a briefing and personal Q&A with Mr. Pellicoro.
In order to sustain the momentum of this good fight, we need you to be alert for information, check the HCEA website (www.harfordcea.org), and be prepared to act, so we can continue the fight through May and June for you and the students.