From the Harford County Education Association (HCEA):
Educators Speak Out for Improved School Funding
Educators in Harford County have had enough! Over the past two days, more than a thousand teachers and support professionals from 30 schools have walked out of school and picketed after their work day. They are calling for the County Council and the Board of Education to sufficiently fund education in Harford County.
“People stay here for a reason—we don’t want to let our children down. We shouldn’t have to make a choice between these children and our own livelihood,” said Katie Wheatley, a teacher at Magnolia Elementary School in Edgewood.
But that is exactly what educators across the county are asked to do every day. “I would like to invite Superintendent Tomback for a typical dinner at my house of Oodles of Noodles or mac and cheese”, says Wheatley. Teachers have seen no increase in base salary and no contractual experience increases (“steps”) in four years. During that time increased health care and pension costs have further decreased their salaries.
Educators across the county expressed their frustration at the County Council for failing to fund education, by demonstrating outside the schools with signs saying, “Fund Our Children’s Future” and “Honk for Education”.
Teachers and support professionals have filled County Council and School Board meeting rooms. The effort to “work to contract” has expanded county-wide and plans are to carry the effort over into the new school year.
“’Working to contract’ means working only one’s contracted hours to prepare and deliver instruction. This means that teachers are not doing the thousands of additional hours every week that they volunteer and not accepting additional volunteer assignments,” said Randy Cerveny, Harford County Education Association President. “This is difficult for teachers who love their students and go above and beyond for them,” he added. “But, in spite of the pain this causes them, our effort to call public attention to the needs of the schools and students is spreading.”