Pleas for Increased Teacher Salaries, School Projects and Other Education Funding Dominate Harford Budget Hearing

At a hearing held Monday in Aberdeen, Harford County Executive David Craig asked for public input on the budget for next year and got an earful of pleas to increase education funding.

Nearly 400 teachers, parents and students packed the Aberdeen High School auditorium for Craig’s only public hearing on the county budget for the 2014 fiscal year. Dominating the requests were calls to fund increases in teacher salaries and instructional materials. Requests were also made for a new Youth’s Benefit Elementary School facility, more computers at Homestead Wakefield Elementary, and a replacement playground at Prospect Mill Elementary. A handful of speakers offered support for the Harford County Public Library, and the Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Among a total of more than forty speakers, only one called for cuts to county spending.

Following over two hours of public comment, which included former county executive Eileen Rehrmann and former school board member Mark Wolkow, Craig blamed the state for cutting education aid to Harford County. “The state has devastated us,” Craig said, listing the increases in state aid received by other counties contrasted with either cuts or no increases for Harford County Public Schools. Among the 24 Maryland public school systems, Craig said that Harford ranked 13th in local funding per student, but “we’re in the bottom from what the state provides.”

Teachers Turn Out

Citing a lack of raises in three of the last four years, many teachers called for the salary increases set forth in their negotiated contract, which subjects such increases to the decisions of fiscal authorities and the school board. Many teachers said they worked one or more extra jobs to make ends meet.

“I’m tired of begging,” said North Harford Middle School teacher George M. Curry, adding that despite his masters’ degree, he also worked as a “human target”, picking up golf balls at a local golf course. He said that some teachers may leave, while others will continue in HCPS not for the paycheck, but for the students. “We’re going to do the best job we can,” Curry told Craig, “My question is, are you?”

Elizabeth Brown, a chemistry teacher at Edgewood High, said that with her master’s degree in organic chemistry, she could make double her teacher’s salary in private industry. She asked, “Why should I continue to teach in Harford County?”

Several teachers said they continue to pay out of pocket for supplies. Bel Air High School teacher Alison Warner said that she has had to choose between buying items for her classroom and her own children.

Other teachers noted cuts that were made to programs and positions this year, and the effect on students. Sarah Scholl, media specialist at Havre de Grace Middle School, said that funding for elementary and middle school media materials was cut this year from $22 per student to $8, at a time when updated materials were needed for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Jason Mills said that the position cuts increased class size and eliminated the planetarium program in kindergarten and fourth grade. The Harford County Board of Education made cuts to this year’s budget in order to fund a 1% cost of living increase for all employees, plus contracted increases for eligible employees.

Ryan Burbey, who organized the teacher turnout as president of the Harford County Education Association, said that Harford County ranked 9th among Maryland public schools in achievement but languished for many years in the lower quartile for funding. Bringing the crowd to its feet, he said that the current levels of achievement, funding and technology were not good enough. “Let’s end this silliness,” Burbey said, warning that it would be difficult to attract a new superintendent “if each year we fight this very public fight just for survival.”

Former longtime school board member Mark Wolkow asked, “Can we continue to do more with less and less and less?” Efficiencies had been found in the schools budget, he said, and he called on Craig to fund the current school board’s budget request for next year.

The school board’s fiscal year 2014 operating request of $443 million includes increases over the current fiscal year of $6.3 million for wages, $6.6 million for employee benefits and $2.1 million for the cost of doing business. Due to declines in expected revenue from other sources, the funding request to county government is an increase of $21.2 million.

Computers, School Facilities, and “Tough Decisions”

Homestead/Wakefield PTA President Mary Harris decried what she called an “obscene disparity” in technology among county elementary schools. She outlined discrepancies in the number of students per computer, which range from a low of about two students per computer at some schools to a high of about eight. Harris asked, “Where is it that we have gone so far askew with our priorities that we are more concerned with school parity when it comes to funding state-of-the-art athletic fields than we are with technology?”

Former county executive Eileen Rehrmann urged Craig to fund a new facility for Youth’s Benefit Elementary. Noting that the state recently approved the project she first proposed 17 years ago, Rehrmann asked for both planning and construction money from the county next year. Youth’s Benefit PTA President Laura Runyeon outlined deficiencies with the current facilities, including failing septic, lead in the water, asbestos floor tiles, and an open classroom design that she said distracts students and poses a security risk.

Prospect Mill Elementary School needs a replacement playground, said PTA officer Danielle Spigler and her son Nick, a student at the school. Ms. Spigler said that the existing playground for first and second graders has four swings serving four classes at the same time. Citing gifted and talented education among other needs, she said, “Harford County needs to step up and put our children first.”

The only speaker to suggest budget cuts, Hugo Biermann said he is retired and on a fixed income. In addition to salary freezes, he suggested 10% cuts across the board and “eliminating frills.” His remarks were met with some applause.

Drawing his public hearing to a close, County Executive Craig thanked those in attendance and said that as a former educator, he understood teachers’ concerns. However, Craig offered no assurances about his budget, which he must recommend by April 15th to the County Council. “There are tough decisions that we have to make”, Craig said.

Comments

    • Proud Teacher Proud Union Member says

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Kharn says

          A brand new school building will not improve an unwilling student’s attitude, they will remain disruptive and unappreciative even with working air conditioning, new paint and fresh carpet. Until there is a cultural shift and the entire population thinks learning is worthwhile, there will be no change.

          Quality students = quality schools.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4
          • AbingdonTeacher says

            The brand new school may not totally improve a student’s attitude, but it goes a long way in transforming a school culture. To say their will be no change is not accurate. While I agree it’s not THE fix, it can often be the catalyst to major school culture and climate changes that allow for major academic improvements.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 6
          • Localguy says

            @Kharn,

            I’m curious – with regard to our cultural appreciation of education; are you part of the problem or the solution with comments like that?

            @Proud Teacher Proud Union Member,

            You tipped your hat – you are a troll. Your rants on this list and others prove beyond any doubt you are simply looking to inflame the discussion. Go away. Actually, I looked closely at your writing style, your sentence structure and irregular use of personal pronouns; I think I almost have it figured out who you really are. Like I said before – you are not a teacher, you never were a teacher, you’ll probably never be a teacher. You may have never even set foot in HdG.

            I can’t say with certainty who you are, but I can say with confidence what you are not.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4
          • Kharn says

            Localguy:
            I wouldn’t say that any person can be part of the solution, the problem is a significant percentage of our society feels education is not in their best interests. Until that attitude changes, and such change must come from within, there is no solution.

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          • Harford Resident says

            The shame of all this is that we hold mega-million $ athletes like Ray Lewis, Michael Vick and others on a pedestal, even with criminal records yet we don’t want to spend money to increase teacher pay or build better schools. We hold ralllies for the Ravens, but only a small minority turned out for the Patterson Mill Middle Scool Quarterly awards ceremony honoring kids with 3.75 and better GPA’s.Until that perspective shifts and our priorities change with regards to education, we’ll never reward teachers the way we should. We entrust our children to their care 10 months out of the year and all we collectively do is complain about them. Shame on all of us.

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      • K says

        I pray you are not teaching my kids nor anyone else’s. Your written word is quite problematic…..

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  1. Brian Makarios says

    Record turn-out of teachers and the salaries will continue to be underfunded and the teachers will continue to work 40+ hours and purchase supplies from their own pocket and then there will be another budget meeting next year and another record turn-out… ad infinitum.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 14
    • Kharn says

      You act like teachers pay for supplies out of their own pocket or working long hours is a recent trend.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
      • Brian Makarios says

        No, I don’t think it’s a recent trend by any stretch. I’m merely saying that this round-and-round cycle of complaining about it with no resolve will be endless. What public school teachers need to do is simply quit doing. They need to work their contracted hours. They need to quit buying supplies. I’m not talking about a “work to rule” scenario. That’s a ridiculous concept in terms of contracted work. The idea implies from the outset that you will be doing free work as part of your job. Teachers simply should work what they have contracted to work.

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    • K says

      I’m not sure what teachers are purchasing. At the beginning of each and every school year I purchase a multitude of items. Not only pencils, pens, paper, and notebooks also tissues, Ziplock bags, disinfectant wipes, markers, crayons, and other “necessary” sundries. Incidentally, I don’t think teachers should be spending any of their paycheck on my kids or anyone else’s. It’s my responsibility to ensure my progeny are well supplied. After all, they belong to my family, not society at large.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4
      • Mom in Harford says

        Unfortunately, when the teachers pay for items that should be paid for by parents, they enable the irresponsible parents…it seems to get worse every year. I was shocked when my child was in pre-k by how many of the students didn’t take part in the home projects…that has nothing to do with finance and everything to do with parental committment to the child’s education, and if they are teaching them in pre-k not to bother, it will only get worse as the child gets older…

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  2. Proud Teacher Proud Union Member says

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Brian Makarios says

      Proud Teacher Proud Union Member, your union isn’t a union, correct? It’s an association. The numbers reflect that most teaching professionals in Harford County do not want to be a member of that association. I would be curious to hear the reasons given why these non-joining professionals refuse to do so.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4
      • Proud Teacher Proud Union Member says

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Brian Makarios says

          Where does one even begin to sort through such a reply as this? Let’s try:

          We are a union and we are as strong as ever” This is debatable. You are actually not as strong as ever. More than half of Harford County teachers are not members of your organization. If that’s “strong as ever”, then, whoa, more power to you.

          As for the other nonsense: I’ve never met anyone who believes in floating men in the sky. I don’t even know what you are talking about here. I’m assuming you’re taking a jab at monotheists of some type here (your theological specifics are less than precise).

          To your other concerns – tax cuts should be for everyone, not just the rich; everyone should have access to healthcare; I’m not sure where I am on gun control, to be honest; abortion does stop a beating heart (this is just a bare observation of science); we certainly do need to protect the environment; private property should be cherished (I certainly don’t want anyone taking it by will or force).

          Your anti-Republican jabs fall on deaf ears with me. I’m not a Republican nor a sympathizer. Equally so, I’d hardly applaud your “Hope and Change” comments.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3
          • Chris says

            How offensive is this little union rant? Let me count the ways… It offends the Christian and homeowner and the overtaxed, and thus 99% of those who teach.
            Considering the grammatical errors replete in your diatribe, I’m doubting you’re a teacher. (Notice the correct usages of ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ please.) I also doubt you’ll get any awards at the next MSEA meeting for painting union members as bitter, godless pinkos.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
        • ALEX R says

          You asked teachers “Why would you not join?” Easy answer, really. Because they don’t agree with the stance on so many issues that they refuse to support them and allow them to use the dues to work against their best interests. MSEA and HCEA aren’t unions and I’m not sure if you get that or if you are that poorly informed. In any event, teachers who read your posts find just in what you say a very compelling reason to not be associated with the organizations you espouse. You are that reason.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
          • Brian Makarios says

            From the HCEA website:

            Harford County Education Association is the professional association and bargaining union for all Harford County Public School teachers, guidance counselors and psychologists, media specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and hearing clinicians. HCEA represents approximately 3,200 employees of Harford County Public Schools in collective bargaining. Approximately 2,000 of those employees are members.

            So it does appear that the HCEA considers itself a union. Fair enough.

            However, it also puts forth itself as representing all teachers and other positions as listed above, the acrimonious “nonunion ticks” comment above notwithstanding.

            It appears that the 2,000 statistic is slightly exaggerated, from what I understand.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
          • Proud Teacher Proud Union Member says

            From the maryland state education association web page:

            Q: Is MSEA a union or professional association? And what’s the difference?

            A: We’re both. One of the core responsibilities of MSEA and its local affiliates is to bargain collectively on behalf of our members so that Maryland’s educators and school employees have the professional-level salaries and benefits and decent working conditions to be effective in their jobs. We also make sure that local employers abide by the negotiated contract and we represent member-employees in job-related legal matters when necessary.

            But the value of association membership comes just as equally from our critical support role as a professional association. This includes lobbying in Annapolis, nationally and locally for improved classroom and school conditions, offering members unique professional development opportunities, and providing them with timely information, tips, and resources through our publications and website.

            Please read for yourself:
            http://marylandeducators.org/frequentlyaskedquestions/

            Also Look at:
            http://marylandeducators.org/whyunion/

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            HCEA is a union. MSEA is a union. HCEA & MSEA are a non-partisan organizations. HCEA & MSEA will continue to advocate for students, teachers and schools. HCEA has and will continue to reach out to members of the community representing both political parties to support quality education for our children.

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    • Dunce says

      perhaps if your precious union was not run by a Marxist, more people would sign up and pay the dues.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
      • Pisst offt axpayer says

        So insightful! Ever thought of running for office? You’d fit right in with the other idiot at the head of the county right now.

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  3. THE Teacher says

    How can anyone think that someone making $48,000 a year for the last 5 years as a fifth year teacher In HCPS with a masters degree + 30 credits will continue to teach in Harford County if they continue to not be provided step increases? These step increases are the only way for teachers to earn more money towards thier salary. There are no opportunities for promotion as a teacher. There are no other incentives for teachers to be effective. Why would anyone want to begin there career as a teacher in Harford County?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5
    • Kharn says

      That’s the advantage of being a (near) government monopoly. Anyone that wants to teach in Harford either has to work for HCPS or one of the few private schools, so what return on investment does HCPS get for steps or scale increases?

      Instead of continuing the current path, alternate systems should be examined. Vouchers would bring more private schools, which would spur HCPS to increase teacher pay due to competition and attrition. Or pay for performance, so high performing teachers can be individually rewarded and low performers could be pushed to voluntarily depart. Both would result in increased student performance throughout Harford County, which is (supposed to be) everyone’s goal.

      And teachers received a step over the summer, so they haven’t been stuck at the same pay for 5 years.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11
      • THE Teacher says

        The return on investment for HCPS by providing salary step increases is the retention of the employees they have devoted time, money and resources in training and developing.

        Voucher systems are frought with constitutional issues (public funding going to religious schools with no government oversight) as has been seen across the country.

        Pay for performance could be implemented, but it is extremely difficult to measure a teacher’s performance from one year to the next, let alone one teacher’s performance compared to another, due to the incredible number of variables outside of a teacher’s control that affect student learning.

        My $48000 a year salary for a 5th year teacher with a masters degree +30 was rounded up and included this year’s salary step. Those 5th year teachers were making $46500 for the previous 4 years.

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        • Kharn says

          “Voucher systems are frought with constitutional issues (public funding going to religious schools with no government oversight) as has been seen across the country.”

          That is a very interesting position to hear. Over a decade ago the US Supreme Court (in Zelman v Simmons-Harris) ruled that vouchers in Ohio, to include those used at religious schools, are constitutional because it passed a number of criteria to ensure the program is secular and does not violate the First Amendment.

          If Indiana can come up with an acceptable state-wide voucher system, I’m sure Harford County could satisfy the Private Choice Test laid out in Zelman.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6
          • CDEV says

            I think the issue though would be that people would expect a voucher to cover the whole tuition at a private school and in many cases it wont even cover half.

            Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
          • Kharn says

            Cdev:
            Every dollar helps, plus many private schools offer tuition assistance for the needy (the truely needy, not the “poor” driving around in Escalades or Mercedes) and scholarships.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6
          • THE Teacher says

            Look up “Judge rules voucher funding is unconstitutional” in Louisianna December 2012

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          • Kharn says

            THE Teacher:
            The Louisianna law was found to violate the Louisianna state constitution by an Louisianna judge in November 2012. Where’s the connection to Maryland or the federal constitution? Both Ohio and Indiana have voucher systems that satisfy federal and state requirements, so it is possible to bring the same to Maryland.

            (BTW, the Louisianna state supreme court will hear the state’s appeal next month, and the judge’s ruling did not include an injunction, so the students are still attending their private schools)

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
        • Kharn says

          “The return on investment for HCPS by providing salary step increases is the retention of the employees they have devoted time, money and resources in training and developing.”

          So what percentage of HCPS teachers left annually during the four years of frozen steps, vs departed in the four years prior? How do those numbers compare with Cecil and Baltimore County?

          Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4
          • pi stofft axpa yer says

            This is probably unknowable. Anecdotal evidence suggests that an exodus of experienced talented teachers is accelerating. The argument that low compensation relative to surrounding counties should probably not be discarded out of hand.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
          • Monster says

            Kharn, you asked a very good question. I can tell you that over the past 10 years, there has NOT been unusual number of teachers leaving HCPS.

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          • CDEV says

            How do you know this? Please cite a source. Also how many have not come here because of salary?????? No data to back that up but a valid question?

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      • CDEV says

        The difference is that there is a choice to other governments nearby that all pay better. SO the question is why would a teacher choose to stay when they can go somewhere else and get more. Over time this will lead to having fewer and fewer quality teachers.

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        • Kharn says

          Changing to Cecil or Baltimore County could require an hour (or more) drive depending on home and assigned school locations, I doubt many teachers would be willing to add that to their day for a small pay increase. The teachers are thus at the mercy of HCPS.

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          • CDEV says

            Small? would you consider 2-4 K per year small? in the example provide a 5 year teacher with a Masters is Harford gets 45,437 in Baltimore county gets paid on step 5 47,061 (it also has higher future earning potential than our county which front loaded the scale 6 years ago) and in Cecil gets 49,128 on step 5 and also has higher earning potential. BTW parts of those counties are not far and Baltimore County is careful about placements of transfers for this reason.

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          • The Money Tree says

            $45,437 on step 5 means the very likely potential of a 29 year old making over $32.00/hour. If the job requirements were year round as with the normal full time job and the expectation of an 8 hour day that salary would equate to over $62,000 plus benefits.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12
          • THE Teacher says

            Yes, a 29 year old making $32/hour plus benefits sounds pretty good after 5 years, although remember they will have the equivalent of almost 2 masters degrees (masters degree +30 credits). But what about after 6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13….years? If no salary steps, no increase in salary, no incentive to grow, no incentive to stay. No incentive to do what it takes to help every student learn. And the current 5th year teacher knows he/she will never get rich being a teacher, but when there were salary steps he/she knew they would be making more money (albeit minimal) as they gained experience. Now the uncertainty of no salary steps…ever…is making many teachers consider alternatives to teaching in Harford County.

            Are you suggesting that teachers should never be given another salary step and all teachers should be making $32/hour with benefits (which are costing the teacher more money every year)? If so, that sounds pretty ridiculous.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
          • Kharn says

            THE Teacher:
            I’m not saying every teacher should be paid the same salary, I believe they should be paid in accordance with their contributions in the classroom and in this situation, due to the HCPS monopoly and geography, they have an edge in bargaining power, not the HCEA.

            FYI, everyone’s healthcare costs are going up, not just teachers. You can thank President Obama for that one.

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
          • pi stofft axpa yer says

            Medical costs have been going up for years. Obama didnt have anything to do with that trend.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Master smaster….all masters degrees are not created equal. Any schmoe can take night classes thru an accelerated program at the heat center and in a year have this supposed “master” that teachers think makes them akin to engineers and doctors. You aren’t. There’s no evidence since the state began to require these “masters” that the skill level in teaching as increased one iota – in fact statistically our schools are in worse shape now than they were in the 1960′s when this “master” was not required.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8
          • The Money Tree says

            Just checked Notre Dame’s website. You can get a concurrent masters and teachers certification in 10 months thru thier accelerated program. Is it me or does anybody else find the wiz bang fast track probably doesn’t provide much by way of expertise? I’m sure some masters are better than others but in checking the curriculum of mandatory classes it isn’t exactly physics.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8
          • THE Teacher says

            Well mine actually is a masters in chemistry, which most (more than half) of HCPS high school science teachers have a masters in their discipline. No, it is not required, but please don’t respond with, “well that was your choice.” You should want teachers to have a mastery of the discipline they teach. Without step increases you won’t see master teachers in the classroom anymore.

            If an objective system were in place to compensate teachers based on their effectiveness, I would be all for it. But there isn’t and it that system will be difficult to develop and implement. There are too many variables out of a teacher’s control to compare teachers to each other. If a performance pay system is implemented, it will not be objective nor will it take those variables into consideration.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
          • Localguy says

            Money Tree,

            I’m confused by your remarks yet again. You seem to equate that simply possessing a master’s degree, which no matter the discipline is merely a credential and not indicative of actual mastery, somehow equates to an elevated status of some sort. I’m not hearing that argument yet that does not prevent the accusation. What I am seeing is that public employees are fulfilling their contractual obligations while their employer is not.

            I think you are correct that a masters in an educational program does not make one equal to a doctor or engineer. It would also be equal to say a masters in engineering or a doctor’s degree would not make one a teacher. Different skill sets, different responsibilities, etc… It does not appear that teachers are making an argument to increase their salaries to be equal to doctors or engineers, but rather a living wage to keep up with cost of living and commensurate with the achievements for advancement (steps) that they have already earned. Thus, what are you talking about?

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          • The Money Tree says

            Not arguing about a living wage – certainly anyone with a skill set deserves to be properly compensated. I will say nearly any engineer can teach, but almost no teachers can be engineers. In fact most teachers can barely manage basic chemistry or math which is exactly why there’s always a big push for folks able to teach those subjects.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Also I’ve read repeated complaints about wages; understandable but in among the claims made it’s a pretty repetitive mantra regarding the “masters”. Teachers themselves use this idea of having a “masters” as some sort of auto ticket to riches assumed deserved. You can’t even get teachers to acknowledge the part time nature of their work – mention the summers off and you get a bunch of who shot John as if that shouldn’t be a part of factoring wages. Indeed it should and if you’re comparing your wages to other professionals the public (taxpayer) has a right to both make the comparison to the masters itself and to the lessor hours actually working when looking at fairness and wages for teachers. How much do teachers now pay into their health insurance plan…is it 3%? I know it’s minimal so it’s not like there aren’t considerable benefits in addition to salary.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6
          • Localguy says

            Well, then what constitutes ‘proper compensation’? In this part of the discussion you are equating skill sets to set the amount one is paid/earns; but in your other posts you argue strictly across the board in reference to mere hours clocked/contracted or however you want to refer to it. Which is it? Are people to be paid for skills or merely hours worked?

            Could you please provide some data to support your assertions about the skills of teachers?

            I believe your statement about attracting talented engineers or chemists to the teaching profession are the exact arguments being made by teachers. How do you attract top tier skills with middle or bottom tier pay and benefits?

            You seem to equate student outcomes with teacher input while leaving out the most important factors for students success. And further, punishing existing teachers for factors outside their control is myopic and sophomoric. In a sense, I think teachers would find your rationalization of increasing pay to attract and retaining better skilled employees quite reassuring.

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          • The Money Tree says

            By all means lets pay the chemists, engineers and math experts more money, but that doesn’t mean everybody gets a raise just so we can attract more expensive employees with higher skill sets; they’re worth more in both the short and long term so should be compensated as such. You can try to fool somebody else with that nonsense. Punishing teachers for factors outside their control…do you refer to the reduction of required hours, weeks and months? Again, you might want to try to fool somebody else but if you choose a profession that in advance is limited in scope to the hours worked and the limitation of taxpayer funds available and you pursue it anyway then yes that really isn’t outside thier control – it’s a decision in advance so let’s not continually whine about reality when you signed onto it in the first place.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7
          • Localguy says

            You speak of the master’s degree as if teachers obtain one to reach some sort of income tier. If you look at the documents that is not necessarily true. It is an achievement they are expected to obtain to keep their job. Thus, the masters becomes less of some sort of tactical acquisition and more of a requirement. In other words, I don’t think your analysis is valid.

            If you look it up it is 10%. Of course we’re assuming the benefits are comparable to benefits paid into by private sector employees. I had public employment in the past and the benefit pay share was less than my private sector contribution, but it was also a lesser benefit. In other words, I paid more but also got more.

            You’ve mentioned this part time employment issue before. I don’t think it can withstand scrutiny. If the contract stipulates 10 months of services in exchange for the expertise, skills and credentials required; the question beckons: Can those teachers work at a job for 2 months of the year and receive a paycheck commensurate with the credentials, skills and expertise they exercise and gain in the other 10 months?

            For example, is it plausible that a teacher can earn the thirty-some-odd dollars an hour in another part time job as they do in their first? If the answer is ‘yes’ then your comments are spot on. However, if the answer is ‘no’ then it’s nonsense.

            Your comparisons of public employees to private employees also contains another factor totally missing from the equation. A private sector employee has the hope that skills and hard work will be rewarded by an opportunity to own the business or to start his or her own. That opportunity does not exist for the public employee. Thus, the very nature of what one can expect reasonably from any effort of excellence is dramatically different. The steps for teachers are essentially those marks of hard work and achievement for which they work. Remove the incentive and I promise you the more talented workers will follow that trend. In fact, I know you know this because in your other post you alluded to it.

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          • The Money Tree says

            Gosh I can see you spent a lot of time thinking and typing but how very sad that none of it has any relevance. That a pretty precious weaving job there with the 10 months and comparable compensation argument but again, they signed onto it as did you. If you work fewer comparative hours there is no logical argument to expect similar compensation to full time work. By the way I do appreciate the honesty, assuming a $10,000 annual health policy w teacher cost of 1K per year is a steal – consider yourself lucky.

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          • Localguy says

            Wow. By extension of your logic doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals should all be paid bottom dollar to prove their value and then get raises only when that value is proven? Exactly how does a hospital or private practice attract top level candidates with bottom level benefits?

            Or are you suggesting that certain disciplines just be paid more because they are more valuable? How do you even make such determinations?

            The factors outside their control yet totally linked to student success is the home life. When a child is the adult at home because of poor parental decision making (drug habits, crime, etc…) and that child has to build responibilities for survival before school work can even be considered versus a child growing up in a home that is safe and deeply committed to education; how do you compare the teachers of these children?

            A limitation to taxpayer funds? Seriously? This is about priorities. I’d rather see the public money increase the quality of educating our kids rather than giving a million dollars to a foreign company to set up shop at APG. It’s about priorities.

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
          • Localguy says

            Fair enough Money Tree, your ‘race to the bottom’ mentality will yield the desired results. Enjoy the society you advocate.

            Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2
          • The Money Tree says

            Yes, there is a limitation in taxpayer funds. I know that’s hard to fathom for some folks, but just because somebody else has a bank account doesn’t mean you have a right to some of it. As far as your first two paragraphs – so convoluted and odd I can’t imagine what in the heck you’re talking about.

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5
          • Localguy says

            So you are fine with your government giving a million dollars to a private company that posted a 12 digit profit the year before only to lure business for which they do not contribute to the tax base directly? I’m glad you can spot convoluted thinking, look in the mirror.

            By the way, I’m self-employed. Just because I put money in a bank account doesn’t mean that people elected to spend that money ought to spend it stupidly.

            Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
          • The Money Tree says

            Be more careful – that knee could really leave a mark on your chin. I was probably the most vocally opposed to the provided funds you mention and took the time to write my council member a thanks – as I believe he was the only one on the council to vote no.

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        • THE Teacher says

          Kharn,
          There already is a system in place to pay teachers “in accordance with their contributions in the classroom”…it’s called the salary schedule in the negotiated agreement. See, teachers that make it to year 5,6,7,8,9,10…. have been evaluated by administrators and deemed effective, otherwise they wouldn’t have had their certification renewed. Teachers do lose their certification. There is a process for that. It happens to teachers every year. Don’t blame the teachers for your misconception that teachers are ineffective. Don’t even blame the administrators. Most teachers are in the classrooms they teach because they are effective and are professionals. So stop spreading this idea that there is this plague of ineffective teachers being paid great sums of money to sit on their ass all day.

          Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
          • Kharn says

            I’d love to know how many teachers lose their certification each year in HCPS due to poor performance. I bet its a negligible number in the grand scheme of things.

            Just because you’ve been in a job for X years doesn’t mean your work warrants a raise. If you want more money, you should have to show an increased value to the organization, not just the ability to avoid being fired that year. If that means the new teacher fresh off the street can negotiate a better salary than you’ve enjoyed for 15 years, too bad, find a way to make your services more valuable to HCPS and you can ask for a similar salary.

            I never said teachers are being paid great sums of money, a large number of teachers are underpaid based on the work they do, but others shroud themselves in the negotiated agreement and refuse to exert any effort beyond the bare minimum.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
          • THE Teacher says

            THe number of teachers that lose certification each year or resign is available from HCPS. All you have to do is ask. File a freedom of information request.

            I think you should be more interested in knowing how many teachers “shroud themselves in the negotiated agreement and refuse to exert any effort beyond the bare minimum.” The answer is few, as they would be targeted for second class certification or termination.

            Each year teachers receive training on new technology, new instuctional programs, new courses, etc. By simply receiving that training and teaching new courses increases a teacher’s value to the system. Not to mention the mentoring that veteran teachers provide to new or struggling teachers.

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
          • Reggie says

            I usually don’t agree with Kharn, but he is right to a point. Many teachers are overpaid for their “in with the kids, out with the kids” contributions. Parents and principals know who these teachers are. They do not deserve good compensation. Those that go the extra mile, stay late, volunteer to head non-paid clubs, work with kids one-on-one before and/or after school – these teachers deserve more than the pay scale allows. If you could solve this problem, we probably wouldn’t argue much about teacher pay.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
          • THE Teacher says

            You failed to read my post in its entirety:

            “Each year teachers receive training on new technology, new instuctional programs, new courses, etc. By simply receiving that training and teaching new courses increases a teacher’s value to the system. Not to mention the mentoring that veteran teachers provide to new or struggling teachers”

            These “in with the kids, out with kids” teachers that you speak of receive the same training and work the same job as all teachers. And don’t think for a second that they aren’t taking work home with them. If they can effectively do their job and their students are successful while putting in only the required duty hours at school, then each year they work they are a more valuable resource to the system.

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          • Reggie says

            Hey, if you are taking work home with you – more power to you. I applaud that. However, we both know that there are a few teachers in each school who leave with the kids WITHOUT work and are offering up the same canned lessons each and every day.

            If you leave with the kids, but are taking work home with you, then you are not the kind of teacher I was talking about.

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          • THE Teacher says

            No I don’t know any teachers of the sort that you speak of. I actually don’t know any teachers that either leave at the end of the duty day without taking work home everyday, don’t stay after the duty day to do work (either with or without students) everyday or don’t perform some other duty after the duty day everyday. Also, teachers do not use the same lessons every year. They are always tweaked, especially as new technology is implemented. You cannot be a teacher and work like that. You just can’t. Please identify these teachers for us so we can move them out of the system. Most likely, they are already in the process of being removed.

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          • Kharn says

            THE Teacher:
            “Each year teachers receive training on new technology, new instuctional programs, new courses, etc. By simply receiving that training and teaching new courses increases a teacher’s value to the system. Not to mention the mentoring that veteran teachers provide to new or struggling teachers.”

            Continuous learning is a requirement in many fields, but partaking in mandatory training does not mean you’ve increased your value, as you’ve remained in the same position relative to the average. If you do something to increase your position (sponsor a club, return term papers quickly, tutor after school, coach, obtain a degree or certification, formal mentoring with approved plans and improvement of both teachers, etc), then that would warrant a raise, not just keeping your head above water with regard to state/county-mandated training.

            Simply learning the latest on mandatory child abuse reporting or grading practices during in-service days and listening to complaining newbies in the teachers’ lounge does not increase your value.

            “I actually don’t know any teachers that either leave at the end of the duty day without taking work home everyday, don’t stay after the duty day to do work (either with or without students) everyday or don’t perform some other duty after the duty day everyday.”
            I’d suggest you find a window overlooking the staff parking lot and open your eyes. Or pay more attention to your coworkers in the teacher’s lounge or offices. It happens.

            ” Also, teachers do not use the same lessons every year. They are always tweaked, especially as new technology is implemented. You cannot be a teacher and work like that. You just can’t. ”
            Could have fooled me, I always love the tests where multiple problems are not graded, or the students are told the answers, because the teacher neglects to re-type the test or even cut and paste a new question over the bad question on the master before copying it. That might have been ok in the mimeograph/ditto days, but it still continues today.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7
          • Kharn says

            Oh, I’m not going to do that.
            I’m waiting for HCPS to revoke their certifications, I’m sure it’s coming any day now.

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
    • Hmmmmm... says

      I cannot believe I am going to agree with THE Teacher on this, however, please remember the proper use of “there” next time. It’s their. Guess you aren’t an English teacher???? And, watch out with that “no incentive to do what it takes to help every student learn.” You will get slapped with a plan of action.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
      • THE Teacher says

        I think you need to read my post again. “There” was used correctly,”…but when THERE were salary steps he/she knew…” . I guess a comma between “steps” and “he/she” would have helped. Either way, you definitely aren’t an English teacher, and who cares anyway?

        I gave up trying to do what it takes to help every student learn along time ago. Sorry, but for what I’m paid for teaching I now have to work two jobs. The rest of my time is spent with my family. Fortunately, I am efficient, effective and experienced enough that I am not worried about a POA, at least not yet!

        Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
        • Hmmmmm... says

          THE Teacher says, “Why would anyone want to begin there career as a teacher in Harford County?” I don’t claim to be an English teacher, most definitely not THE anything. I do have to worry that you may be teaching my children.

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          • THE Teacher says

            Ok, their. Nice work.

            My arrogance often gets in the way.

            You should only be worried if I’m not teaching your kids. Unfortunately there are only so many seats in my classroom.

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
      • Monster says

        Hmmmm, I think he must be a math and science major, you know, the brilliant fields of study.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  4. Dilligaf says

    David Craig,

    If you have any hopes or aspirations of becoming Governor or Comptroller of this state then you had better listen to the chorus of people who are screaming at you to fund the education budget fully. When you were the vice principal at Southhamptom Middle School and then became mayor of Havre de Grace, it escaped no one that you were pulling down two salaries while your job at Southhampton was being filled by a substitute and you played the part of mayor. Why is it you felt it justified to double dip and collect two salaries and yet when teachers in this county are simply asking you to fund the step increase that are a central part of their contract and the part that has been stolen from their for 4 years running, you balk? Don’t give the teachers that phoney baloney line that the state has cut our funding this year. That hardly explains the three years prior to this year where teacher contracts were violated.
    Step up to the plate and fund education now or suffer the consequences in terms of your poliical future in this state. I can guarantee you that if you screw teachers again this year, we will screw you at the balloting box when the time comes!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 13
    • Kharn says

      Teachers are not a traditional Republican voting block, so I doubt Mr Craig is counting on your vote anyway.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
      • CDEV says

        Yes but since republicans make up so little of the population for a republican to get elected to state wide office you must poach off democrats. Part of this is accomplished by winning your home county big. Ehrlich did not win by appealing to traditional GOP voting blocks. The times he ran with that approach he lost!!!!

        Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
        • Artemis says

          This is true. By appealing to the far right wing of his party, which disrespecting public education seems to be the current target, he cannot win Maryland’s governorship. He will need conservative democrats to win, and this behavior ensures that he will be doing something in the private sector once his current term is completed.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4
          • Artemis says

            I love the dislikes. If you really dislike this comment, then you have no clue about the politics of Maryland.

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  5. County citizen says

    As long as we have a republican as executive, nothing will change.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 15
    • CDEV says

      Not True there are many counties with GOP heads that fund their schools.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
      • Kharn says

        How many of those have an equivalent situation to the Route 40 corridor? Frederick County vs Harford isn’t a fair fight.

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
        • Pisst offt axpayer says

          Could you explain this comment? I’d like to understand why Frederic vs. Harford isn’t a fair fight. I think we could whip them, if we wanted to.

          Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
          • Ryan Burbey says

            The Craig admin likes the comparison but Frederick spends 50% of their county budget on schools. Why doesn’t Harford?

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
          • CDEV says

            Another difference is Craig is counting the shifted pension cost in the BOE budget. Frederick is not. So when Craig claims he is increasing the BOE budget he is only doing so by the increased pension contribution. Frederick is not putting that burden on their BOE!

            Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
          • Arturro Nasney says

            Ryan Burbey asks a poignant question: “The Craig admin likes the comparison but Frederick spends 50% of their county budget on schools. Why doesn’t Harford?” In order to follow this line, one must first accept that quality education has a direct correlation to the amount of money spent. Once you realize that that is not true, the entire “PAY US MORE!” BS falls by the wayside. If there were a correlation then we ought to spend the same amount per pupil that we spent in the early 50s when kids were still being taught to how to think not what to think.

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          • pi sstofft axpay er says

            This comment never made any sense to me. I hear it repeated on FOX news from time to time and in circles of people who hate children, but I’ve never really understood the logic of it. If money spent does not correlate to educational quality, where are all the free schools?

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  6. Joe says

    I’d like to know where the Board of Ed president stands on these issues. He’s the only member that voted against the budget which includes salary enhancements. His “nay” vote leads me to wonder many things about his support for teachers.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
    • Reggie says

      He is a Tea-Party member. That should explain his vote against a public education budget.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9
      • Joe says

        He at least owes the public an explanation for why he voted no, and what he would want to see done different in the budget.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
        • reasonable question says

          I think it highly unusual that as BOE president he wouldn’t be advocating for the school system. Rumors are that Mr. Grambo will run for a different political office come the next election. His nay vote on the budget could be viewed as an attempt to keep him in good graces with his Tea Party base of supporters. Their stance on funding public education is well documented. I would agree that he should explain himself.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
          • Joe says

            Hmm…that’s interesting. Problem with that is there are so few tea partiers compared to the rest of his constituency he serves.

            Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
      • Artemis says

        Don’t know why people are “disliking” this Reggie….it is true. In fact, I think you can find that info on this very site in an older story. I love how people dislike truth. Now, whether or not it impacted his vote…who is to say?

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
  7. W.T.F.? says

    Chris, if you really were a Christian, you would “turn the other cheek”. But alas….like most self-proclaimed folks, you proudly wear the title, but don’t walk the walk.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
    • Chris says

      I didn’t give myself any title or proclaim myself as anything, WTF. Go back and READ the comment before you presume to know me.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  8. pi stofft axpa yer says

    I’m not a teacher. I attended the meeting because Craig is not being a good steward of the public school system. Buildings are falling apart, the system is hemorrhaging teachers, and instead of accepting any sort of responsibility for the shortfalls in funding (he does set the dollar amount the system gets, after all) he blames the state. I wanted to show my support for education funding, and I’m a long time resident on fixed income. Don’t let the writeup fool you. There were a lot of non-teachers there cheering on the speakers.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8
    • Monster says

      Buildings are not falling apart. Besides, teachers want their negotiated pay. End of story.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
      • d says

        Maybe not falling apart but some are in need of major repairs/renovation or replacement. I would put HdG hs in the former group. The buildings are sound so I question the claimed need to tear them down. More appropriately argued as a political move than a physical necessity.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
      • Pisst offt axpayer says

        Buildings are falling apart.

        They are not getting the maintenance they need to function as schools. I dare you to go to Youth’s Benefit and drink the water from the spigots for 1 week. While you are there, use every bathroom stall. Make sure each one flushes. As well, please visit when it rains, sit under a dripping tile and let us know how you stayed dry. And then, when you are done changing clothes, just walk around the campus for a while — but try to be careful not to be hit with falling debris.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  9. concerned citizen says

    I was very disappointed in David Craig during the meeting. A citizen of Harford County asked Mr. Craig why the state decreased our funding for schools. He said that this was a choice they just made. It was a complete lie. Harford County has been pulling in record revenues and has not been funding education. This is the real reason. It upsets me that he cannot just tell the truth. Please stop blaming the state for taking away your welfare money because you refuse to properly fund education.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 13
  10. money bag$$ says

    Teachers crying about more $$? What else is new? HCG spends 50% of all revenues on HCPS and 25% on HCSheriff’s office. The REST is spent on all other county functions. if the county can be run on 25%, then HCPS needs to cut the junk & frills and get efficient. Teachers need to either find better paying jobs or do the job they chose to do for the $$$ they get. Increase student classrooms and fire the imcompitent teachers. Yes, I misspelled it on purpose so that you smarties can correct me. Makes you feel good to do that and I don’t care cause I have a high school diploma n make more mulla than you.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 10
  11. money bag$$ says

    BTW, any argument that teachers work more for less, Is the same that I have been doing for the past 5 yrs too. You have a master’s? I am trained to do a job that you couldn’t do. As they say, “those who can do, those who can’t =they teach” F it.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9
    • Reggie says

      So, you could deal with 30 children in a small classroom? You could effectively teach them content, follow an IEP, be a pseudo-parent, conduct immediate mediation, effectively grade and record grades, attempt to motivate the non-motivated, deal with parents who have no clue about county and/or state regulations? You will say yes, but we both know the answer is no.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
    • pi stofft axpa yer says

      Only the ignorant say that, money bag$$. Anybody who knows how capable
      nd knowledgeable teachers (generally speaking) are, would never spew that lie.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
    • Pisst offt axpayer says

      You said, “those who can do, those who can’t =they teach”

      Less of a complete fabrication: “Those who can teach, teach. Those who can’t teach, do.”

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
  12. Bill says

    Thank God for Calvert Hall, Gilman, St. Pauls,Curley and John Carrol! We do not have to worry about the lessor teachers or the government! Harford county Schools are just as rotten as the Health Department and Judicial System! Wake up Hillbilly’s and see exactly what the rest of the nation is doing. We must remember they are lead by Uncle Omalley!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11
  13. Pisst offt axpayer says

    Why is it that the 41 million dollar 60,000 square foot proposed emergency operations center with THREE 1.75 MEGAWATT generators (think about that for a minute. Megawatts are big. It’s only 60,000 square feet. If all of them are running at the same time, that’s watt/sq foot of 87.5 Your house probably uses more like 10 watts/square foot.) An exercise room, a financial manager’s office, meeting rooms, computer classrooms, training facilities [does the county have any training facilities that would do? How about the schools?], etc. ) has zero problem getting funding yet when the schools need an extra 20 million for full funding, there’s a hissy fit?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
  14. money bag$$ says

    thanks to all the teachers here for calling me name a troll. HCPS gets way too much money for the product they deliver, that much is true and teachers get paid what the market can bear, if you don’t like it, then leave it. I won’t lift a finger to work for less than what I am worth and you shouldn’t either. Stop crying about it and find a job that pays your worth. Fire the lazy teachers that told my son at Bel Air High that Spain is part of South America and Mexico is not in North America.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6
  15. Common Sense says

    @your stupid

    Because is right, and you’re stupid.

    Spain is part of Europe.

    Mexico is part of North America.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  16. stop the spin says

    Mr. Craig needs to stop blaming the State for the funding problems facing the county school system. Yes, State government has cut funding and pushed other expenses back to the county but that is happening to other counties as well. There is a great deal of turmoil within the HCPS some of which can be traced directly to Mr. Craig’s funding decisions over the past few years.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
    • Jaguar Judy says

      Most of the turmoil can be attributed to the selection of a Superintendent that has no leadership skills and is roundly believed with good reason to be the worst selection in decades. He and some of his cronies are going but the damage has been done. The BOE also bears a portion of the blame. They must be held accountable for HCPS and its condition. HCEA? HCEA and the teachers want what was negotiated. I don’t necessarily support them in total but if I have a contract that promises me something then I want it. That is the law. Was the contract a good one? Probably not, but that is the fault of the folks who agreed to it in HCPS leadership, the BOE and the County Government. Was the contract enforceable? I suppose not or there would be a lot of action in the courts. So as far as teacher pay is concerned, right or wrong, fair or unfair, the root problem is that teachers believe a contract is enforceable because it is a contract. In this case they are learning that is not so. HCEA should have made that very plain to them from day one.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
      • stop the spin says

        You are absolutely correct Tomback, and his Baltimore County crony Lawrence, caused major problems within the school system. Their departure cannot come fast enough for many parents and staff. The responsibility for Tomback’s arrival needs to be squarely placed at the doorstep of the BOE that hired Tomback and allowed Lawrence to tag along. The only current BOE member from that group is Krchnavy and you can hold her accountable at the next election.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  17. Common Sense says

    @Ryan

    1. You represent teachers not students

    2. You are promoting a petition for greater teacher pay

    3. You are disingenuous

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
    • Ryan Burbey says

      1. I represent both teachers and students. You can choose to believe this or not. It will not change my advocacy.
      2. I am promoting at petition that asks HCPS to be funded at a level which allows our schools to thrive rather than beg for the funds necessary to survive every year.
      3. I am not in the least disingenuous. All of the arguments which have been presented for increasing HCPS funding are based on facts.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8
      • stop the spin says

        While I do not agree with every position you take I would agree with your position that the school system needs to be funded so that students can thrive. School system funding levels approved by Mr. Craig over the past few years have resulted in cannibalization within the system that has reached a critical point. The system has stopped moving forward and is in serious risk of decline which will come at the expense of students and their future prospects.

        Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3
        • Jaguar Judy says

          Or is it in serious risk of having to finally get rid of all of the waste including bloated administration and overhead? As someone once said here on The Dagger, the stars, if there are any, are in the classroom standing in front of the students. The remainder of them are hangers on. Not every teacher is a star, but that is where the stars are. The administrators, associate and assistant this and thats, IF’s and all of the rest are unnecessary fluff. Keep the lights on, the heat running, the parking lots plowed and the toilets flushing and get out of the way of the teachers who are doing the real job.

          Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
      • Common Sense says

        @Ryan

        You do not represent students.

        You represent those who pay dues.

        You represent teachers.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
        • Ryan Burbey says

          I will continue to fight for students and teachers alike. This struggle for education in Harford County will not end until all students have equitable access to education. This begins with adequate funding. It is true that teachers have elected me to represent them but they have also elected me to fight for the best interests of their students. I intend to do both.

          “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”
          ? Frederick Douglass

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9
          • says

            Let’s be clear and honest. Mr. Burbey, you work for the teachers. You have no interest in serving the students, save for the fact that the teachers benefit if you can convince others that “for the kids” we should spend more money on the school system.

            You use the word “equitable” in the sense of “equal” but you do not mean equal, for the children in these schools often have no choice except government schools– and that is the most unfair problem of all.

            Until schools stand on the equal footing of real competition and not a government monopoly, there can be no equity.

            I stand for equality for families and children who wish to be home-schooled, private schooled, religious schooled, or otherwise.

            You stand for forced equality, under the thumb of government mandates and force. The people who suffer most under government-controlled schooling are the poor– these folks who don’t have ability to move to a richer community. Those are the people who suffer under union-controlled education systems.

            We stand for freedom of choice in education. And our numbers are growing.

            “But it is said that we are now being greatly persecuted. I know it. I admit it. I deplore it. I denounce it. Attempts are being made to set aside the amendments of the Constitution; to wrest from us the elective franchise; to exclude us from respectable railroad cars; to draw against us the color line in religious organizations; to exclude us from hotels and to make us a proscribe class. I know it all, and yet I see in it all a convincing evidence of our progress and the promise of a brighter future. The resistence that we now meet is the proof of our progress. We are not the only people who have been persecuted. “– Frederick Douglass

            Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 6
          • Kharn says

            Which teachers elected you?
            Who was the alternate candidate?
            How many voted for you, that candidate, or did not vote?

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
          • pi stofft axpa yer says

            Well done, kharn! In one shot you’ve managed to impugn both a democratic process and Burbey, whom you imply simply appointed himself. If you are really interested in union leadership, pay your dues and vote in the elections yourself, or run for office, if you have any sand. But really, Burbey is doing his job.

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
          • CDEV says

            Patrick people do have choices, private schools, charter schools and home schooling. People make this choice every day. Clearly Private schools (the good ones) cost more than public school spends when you consider the population they serve.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
          • Kharn says

            Pi:
            If he claims to represent teachers and students, he needs to explain his election process to the parents of HCPS students.

            Cdev:
            So would you support vouchers to assist parents in paying for those improved oppertunities? I think that would a great benefit to students of all aptitude levels in Harford (Highlands costs more than many universities). Good schools shouldn’t be limited to only those with big bank accounts.

            Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
          • pi stofft axpa yer says

            Kharn! You are brilliant! Because representatives only represent the constituency that actually put them in office, right? The representative only advocates for his buddies, his pals!…rather than the entire body! Amiright?

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          • CDEV says

            Kharn as I said before, I would but not to cover the whole thing. If the voucher was limited to only the per pupil exenditure without factoring in special education. This of course would almost cut the voucher in half if not more! The voucher can not be spent on religious education materials (i.e. you can spend it at Loyola but Loyola can not spend the money on religion class materials the parent needs to pay for that). Finally the school must be subject to some level of evaluation to make sure the tax dollars are being spent at a real school and not a diploma mill. For eample I would not believe Loyola is a Diploma Mill. They recieve some form of accreditation to illustrate this where as there are a ton of schools like Huntington Prep in WV which are Basketball or sports academies.

            BTW contray to other claims MSDE offers free resources to homeschool parents and local school systems pay for special ed services at schools like Calvert Hall!

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            Although I do not owe any further explanation, I was elected by the majority of association representatives at our August 23rd meeting in accordance with HCEA Bylaws which dictate that the Represeantive Assebly elect replacements for vacant offices. I was opposed by Amarilyz Pimentel, who currently serves as our Vice-President. HCEA bylaws were followed to the letter. Next year at the conclusion of my predessesor’s original term, I will seek re-election through the HCEA elections process via a vote of the entire membership. Any member who has specific quesitons need only call or email me.

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          • Common Sense says

            @Ryan -

            You were elected by HCEA teacher members.

            You were not elected by taxpayers, students or parents.

            You represent teachers only.

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          • Common Sense says

            @Cdev

            No Ryan Burbey posted -

            “1. I represent both teachers and students. You can choose to believe this or not. It will not change my advocacy.”

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          • Cdev says

            He has also said in this thread that he advocates for and fights for…….To me one can infer easily that he is doing so by pushing for more school funding from the very source it should be coming from. Harford County Govt provides less than 50% of the BOE budget most of the money is coming from the feds and state. Considering the attitude of many on here that we should have local control you need to locally fund it to have control. The local funding is an embarassment.

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            Before I was ever elected to any union office, I was representing my students by advocating for them. I will continue to advocate for the students and teachers of Harford County both while I serve as HCEA President and after. If some in the community characterize me as only representing teachers, then they are myopic. Teachers are advocates for their students. Teachers seek to further their students best interests. That is why folks get into education in the first place. To be clear I was elected to represent the teachers but the mission of HCEA is:

            To work for the welfare of school children, the advancement of education, and the improvement of instructional opportunities for all;
            To develop and promote the adoption of such ethical practices, personnel policies, and standards of preparation and participation as mark a profession;
            To unify and strengthen the teaching profession and to secure and maintain the salaries, retirement, tenure, professional and sick leave, and other working conditions necessary to support teaching as a profession;
            To enable members to speak with a common voice on matters pertaining to the teaching profession and to present their individual and common interests before the Board of Education and other legal authorities

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  18. Jeff says

    wow! such terrible things said about teachers….I don’t know why anyone would want to enter into such a thankless and disrespected field! Sad!

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    • agreed says

      And many who would otherwise consider teaching as a profession are paying attention to what is being said and printed in the public forum and then choosing to enter other career paths. I know many outstanding teachers who when asked for advise by those considering a teaching degree say to look elsewhere. As you say, sad.

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