The Harford County teachers’ union and the Board of Education have reached a tentative labor agreement for next year providing a 1% cost of living increase for all employees, and a step increase for eligible employees, according to the Harford County Education Association (HCEA), the union representing county teachers.
The raises negotiated by HCEA would cost approximately $5.7 million for teachers alone in the 2013-14 school year, union official Seleste Harris said on Thursday. However, because of contractual “me too” clauses with the other bargaining unions in the county school system, Harris said that the school board made their agreement with teachers contingent upon receiving a total of $7.9 million in county funding for raises next year, the amount needed to fund the negotiated increases for all school employees.
Harford County Public Schools issued a press release Thursday afternoon announcing the tentative agreement that was signed with HCEA on February 26th, but declined to provide additional details. Teri Kranefeld, HCPS manager of communications, said that the specifics of the agreement would be released once members of the school board and HCEA were notified. The release indicates that the school board plans to ratify the agreement at a meeting set for March 11, and that HCEA would ratify the agreement in the next few weeks, before County Executive David Craig submits his budget to the County Council.
However, HCEA President Ryan Burbey said later on Thursday that union members wouldn’t ratify the agreement before Craig releases his budget.
Ratification will come after the necessary funding is in place, Burbey said, either when it’s recommended by Craig in his budget or, failing that, when and if the funding is provided by the County Council.
Harford County Public Schools has requested a $442,794,760 operating budget for the fiscal year 2014, a $15 million increase, or 3.5%, over this year. However, due to a decline in revenue from the state and other sources, the budget request to county government is an additional $21 million, a portion of which was planned to pay for negotiated salary increases.
After several years without an increase, hundreds of teachers protested and worked to rule last year, eventually getting a 1% cost of living and a step increase for the current school year, which the school board paid for in part by cutting programs and positions when the county didn’t fund the requested amount.
Burbey said that the negotiated 1% cost of living and step increases for next year were reasonable based on the school system’s finances and the “political climate.” But if the contract isn’t funded by the county, the union would continue negotiations with the school board and may consider possible job actions, such as again working to rule. “Hopefully, it won’t come to that,” Burbey said.
Below is the press release issued by HCPS:
BOARD/HCEA REACH TENTATIVE CONTRACT AGREEMENT
The Board of Education of Harford County and the Harford County Education Association (HCEA), which represents approximately 3,200 Harford County Public Schools employees, including teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, media specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech and hearing clinicians, have reached a tentative agreement between the two organizations.
On Tuesday, February 26, 2013, the tentative agreement was signed by representatives of the school system and HCEA. The one-year tentative contract settlement between the two organizations encompasses the 2013-14 school year, which will begin July 1, 2013, and end June 30, 2014.
Specifics of the tentative agreement, to include salary enhancements, are currently being shared with members of the Board of Education of Harford County and with the members of HCEA. The agreement becomes official after ratification by both HCEA and the Board. Ratification of the agreement is expected to be placed for approval on the March 11, 2013, Board agenda. It is anticipated that HCEA members will ratify the agreement within the next few weeks in order for the agreement to be finalized prior to the submission of the County Executive’s 2014 budget to the county council. Details of the agreement will not be released until members of both parties have been informed.
Information regarding the collective bargaining process can be found on the school system website at www.hcps.org by clicking on the ‘Board’ tab.
No place for our kids says
Here come the, “how dare those greedy teachers ask for more money…” Comments.
Instead of looking at the political climate, look at the economic one. People are lucky if they have a job today, and many of those that are working are being furloughed or taking pay cuts, and HCEA gets a 1% cost of living adjustment?
Union extortion at its finest.
FN Really says
A 1% cost of living is extortion to you? Really?
When HCPS is locked into dealing with HCEA for pay (they can’t deal with teachers individually or pick a different labor organization), and given Mr Burbey’s penchant for work-to-rule, yes, I would consider it extortion.
I’m surprised Mr Burbey hasn’t publicly demanded the missing steps be paid back retroactively, he hinted at it a few times before his coronation. Maybe that was his negotiating angle, so HCPS was forced to agree to just a step and 1%?
Pisst offt axpayer says
LOL! Adhering to a contract is extortion! That’s great, Kharn. Brilliant and insightful as always.
The 1% isn’t guaranteed in the contract.
The retroactive payback was actually in a contract agreed to by the Board of Education. The county exec pulled the plug on that.
Was that your thinking when people where getting large bonuses about 10 years ago and teacher could only get a step and 1%?
That is the price of public employment, agreeing to a smaller salary and less chance of bonuses in exchange for job security, defined hours and established benefits. Many in the private industry that received large bonuses in the boom of the late 1990s are unemployed today, yet the teachers are still working.
Thank you. With each comment you just did a 180 on your first post.
I do not see a disagreement between them, care to expand on it?
And a set step increase…….It is like you want to ignore the pay factors.
Steps are not a bonus, but under the current contract they’re subject to funds available. If HCEA wants to see them every year they should negotiate for guaranteed terms.
Sadly they can’t negotiate garunteed terms like that.
ok, to me this sounds selfish and arrogant on your part? soo when the economy picks back up and the private sector gets their jobs back and the bonuses again continue, then the public employees should still be satisfied with just having a job and making a stagnant base salary….so basically we are “martyrs” for the working class?? haaa haaa…..your funny!!! I bet when your out and about you see teteachers/police/county road workers/etc… as peasants who should all live in a fenced in area and not dare step on the land of the awww-and-powerful private sector employee!! lol!! was that a little much!!
concerned citizen says
There may have been a time when this idea of people are out of work and furlough nonsense actually made sense. Truthfully, Harford County has done well with keeping its unemployment rate down and growing its wealth at the same time. If you are speaking about the country as a whole I can maybe see your point, however, Harford County is what we should look at when making statements about jobless rates and economic conditions. Harford County is receiving less money from the state because they are very wealthy. Those who work in the county and live in the county deserve more than a 1% COLA.
im all for teachers getting a fair salary….I just hope that it doesn’t put a damper on other county employees trying to get steps back?? its been 6 yrs or soo for many of other county employees in which a new deal was trying to be done for 2014??
concerned citizen says
If someone tells you that teacher salaries is the reason why other county employees did not receive a fair increase in salary then they are playing the political game. The government flat out chose to not fund it. It is also highly unlikely that anyone will get their steps back. This is not because of HCPS. That is the choice our government leaders will make.
money bag$$ says
As usual, teachers asking for more $$$! What else can you expect than more $$$ for less students in the system. A 1-2% merit increase which should be based on merit seems reasonable, but giving steps or increases “just because” shouldn’t be the reason to give raises now. Teachers had a raise last year and bonuses the year before that. To say that teachers haven’t been treated fairly is plainly wrong! County employees had furloughs while teachers didn’t…I know the state mandates a number of school days, but it wouldn’t prevent a rotating shift of teachers from being furloughed while keeping the schools open. bunch of greedy bastards…
midnight shift says
“Rotating shift of teachers…while keeping the schools open.” I can see it now, Mr. Smith’s chemistry class will now meet in Mrs. Jones’ world history class today since Mr. Smith is absent as this is one of his furlough days. And since all of us can’t fit in Mrs. Jones’ classroom or the chemistry lab both classes will be moved to the bleachers in the gym where Mrs. Jones attempts to teach her world history lesson while Mr. Clark is instructing his students how to set and spike a volleyball. Of course the chemistry class can sit there and do the busywork packet Mr. Smith had to make up for each of his classes. This will be repeated for each of Mr. Smith’s classes except for when Mrs. Jones has her planning period. So it will be necessary for Mrs. Johnson to fill in and she can move her physics class to the auditorium with Mr. Smith’s class (because we still have the same issue of class space) only to find two other displaced teachers covering for other furloughed teachers. Get the picture?! I didn’t even get to elementary schools where schedules are even less flexible and where substitute teachers will have to be hired at additional cost and are not easy to find. Now lets magnify this for 3,000 teachers across 53 schools for each furlough day. You get the point. I am not interested in just keeping schools “open.” I expect that students should be able to get the benefit of the expertise of teachers my tax dollars are already paying for. I am sorry you were furloughed, nobody wants to loose money. Furloughing teachers might have made you feel better but would not have benefited students which is why we have schools.
Reader L says
Moneybag$$, teachers have to take classes, courses, and earn credits to maintain their certificates. That cost money, time, and work for them. That’s one of the reasons the steps increase for teachers. but that’s only up to 15 years. After 15 then they freeze for 4 years and don’t receive any step increases. Wouldn’t you want a doctor who has experience to be working on you?? Just as I would want my children to have an experienced teacher and I don’t mind if they get more money!
This should be a non-issue ANYWHERE in the USA. The military gets whatever they want, and it should be the same with the schools. Go ahead–raise teacher standards and do whatever it takes to make them excel…but good Lord–why in the world would we as a country/state/county not want to put our money into education? Blah.
“the military gets whatever it wants” . Are you living under a rock. Todays soldiers endure multiple front line deployments due to not enough manpower/money. Stress levels so high that suicide rates among active duty personnel are at historic highs. I met a sixteen year US Army soldier working at a local tire store who has been told he can not stay another four years to get a full twenty years and the well deserved pension.This story is all to typical among dedicated,patriotic men and women who thought their service would be fairly rewarded. I could go on but my point is there may be arguements for more education funding but this isn’t one of them.
Correct–it was silly of me to say that…of course the military doesn’t get whatever they want and I have utmost respect for our soldiers. I was simply trying to make the point that education is ridiculously underfunded, and since education is the basis for our future, there shouldn’t even be an argument over salaries, spending and budgeting for it–at the base level! (Teachers, kids, supplies, facilities). Oh well…it’s like arguing abortion and capital punishment…two totally different opinions.
Watch out America…here comes China. (I wonder if their teachers got a 1% raise this year?)
Pisst offt axpayer says
Hmm. Perhaps “military” is a bit too grand. Perhaps Lurker should have said military industrial establishment. The defense industry as a whole, and the contractors and programs like the F-35, which could cost “hundreds of billions of dollars” and still hasn’t made it into production. Read about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/us/in-federal-budget-cutting-f-35-fighter-jet-is-at-risk.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
The program seems particularly wasteful given our apparent movement to increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles instead of piloted fighter jets. At any rate, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the project seems like the defense industry getting everything it wants, while teachers have to fight over paper and chalk and rooms with ceilings that don’t leak and water that is actually safe to drink.
Yes…that’s what I meant. 🙂
Well according to Kharn that is the deal they signed up for along with the combat pay etc. Being the Grandson, son and brother of service men who have served this country in WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanastan, and multiple tours in Iraq. I say this with the upmost respect for the sacrifice they and their families make.
One need only look at Secretary Hagel’s confirmation to realize the hatchetman has arrived at DoD to start the reduction-in-force. Soldiers with 17, 18 or 19 years are being booted out to save the military from the burden of their pensions. Those that have endured horrible assaults on their bodies and minds in the name of protecting our freedoms deserve better, but elections have consequences and the current administration feels differently.
A teacher can walk away from their job at any time with minimal repercussions, a Soldier’s contract is eight years and backed by prison time for desertion.
Pisst offt axpayer says
Maybe they should take up teaching?
Pisst offt axpayer says
Maybe they should take up teaching? It’d solve the problem of putting guns in the hands of teachers.
But would you not agree the soilder signed up for that contract. It came with some benefits etc. A teacher signed up for a certian contract. That included certian pay expectations. BTW if a teacher leaves mid school year their liscence gets revoked.
And let’s not forget it’s the” military,industrial,CONGRESSIONAL establishment.The military can’t spend it until our congress approves it.