With a new school year underway, cuts made to teaching positions over the summer break are now in effect at most Harford County public schools. Cuts to 66 classroom and related positions were approved in June by the Harford County Board of Education in order to provide salary increases to all school employees, with school-specific cuts determined later by Superintendent Robert Tomback. The cuts affected 34 out of 54 Harford County Public Schools. All of the position cuts were accomplished through attrition, according to Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for HCPS.
The teacher position cuts affected 15 elementary schools, while four elementary schools gained full or partial positions in the process. Among the schools affected, a net total of 30 elementary positions were cut. William Paca Elementary in Abingdon lost the most positions, which Kranefeld said was due to a projected decline in enrollment for this year. Bakerfield Elementary in Aberdeen and Churchville Elementary School each gained one teacher.
Teaching positions were also cut at each of the county’s nine middle schools and each of the ten high schools. One high school level position was cut in Alternative Education.
Also at the high school level, new teaching positions were cut that had been planned to support the department chair initiative. Kranefeld explained that, in core subject areas such as English, math, science and socials studies, department chairs in some schools are each teaching one less class this year. A total of eleven new teachers were going to be hired to cover their classes, but Kranefeld said that the extra student load is instead being absorbed by existing staff.
The 66 teaching position cuts totaling $3.9 million were approved by the Harford County Board of Education on June 11th to help fund a total of $10 million in negotiated salary increases that will apply to all school employees in the 2012-13 school year.
The $10 million will pay for a 1% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for all 5,600 HCPS employees and a step increase and a longevity increment for those who are eligible. The increases were negotiated between the school board and the Harford County Education Association, the union representing the school system’s 3,200 teachers. As a result of “me too” clauses in their respective contracts, the increases also apply to all other HCPS employees, including Superintendent Robert Tomback.
In addition to the 66 teaching positions cut specifically to fund salary increases, eight “para-educator” positions and seven central office positions were cut for this year; two special education positions were also added. The overall position changes were approved by the school board to help balance the budget for this year with $428 million in school operating funds provided by county and state governments.
Announcing the list of schools affected by the 66 teaching position cuts, Kranefeld wrote in a in a June 26th email to school employees, “Careful consideration was taken to ensure that the classroom was affected last and least.”
Spanning a total of three pages, below is the list of schools affected by the 66 cuts along with the specific teaching positions cut at each school. The list was provided by HCPS to The Dagger upon request. A chart at the end of page one shows the seven cuts made to central office positions.