Burbey: “Mr. Craig, You Do Not Understand What Education Has Become Since You Dedicated Yourself to Politics Full-Time”

From Harford County Education Association President Ryan Burbey:

Dear Mr Craig,

I am writing to address your recent press release/letter regarding education funding in our county. While I welcome and appreciate the effort to make sure that all county residents are aware of the relevant data, it appears that there are numerous oversights in your letter that prevent the full story from being told.

You state: “The decline in the economy has severely impacted tax revenues for Harford County.” However, this simply is not substantiated with the facts. In FY 2004-2005, General Fund Revenue was $323,213,155 (1). The FY 2013-2014 Harford County Budget, which you proposed, lists General Fund Revenue as $493,855,941. To your credit, General Fund Revenue has grown by over $170 million dollars in just nine short years. In 2005, property tax revenue was a paltry $153,232,128. (2) Your budget projects property tax revenue in FY 2014 of $248,593,893. (3) That is an increase of over $95 million dollars. It seems that your claims of declining revenues simply do not ring true.

I will agree with your statement that, “Property tax assessments have dropped substantially in each of the past four years.” However, since reaching the bottom of the real estate crash in FY 2007-2008 when property tax revenue was only $207,440,466 (4); property tax revenue has steadily risen to projected revenue of $248,593,893 in FY 2014 (5). That seems to indicate that the net taxable base has grown substantially due to development. It would also imply that as real estate values climb and the next cycle of tax assessments begins, Harford County will realize a windfall of property tax revenue. If nothing else, both market trends and your own budget documents indicate that property tax revenue will continue to rise without any increase in taxes.

Your letter also suggests a false choice of either properly funding education and increasing taxes or leaving tax rates consistent and maintaining your short-sighted trend of underfunding education. This is just categorically inaccurate. More than anything else budgets reflect the priorities of our leaders. It is clear that education simply is not your priority. I will again reference you to 2004-2005. At that time, education received 52% of General Fund Revenues (6). Your FY 2013-2014 Budget allocates only 48% of General Fund Revenues to education of this only 45% will be allocated to Harford County Public Schools. (7) If you truly value education as you contend, why do you continually decrease the percent of your budget allocated to our public schools?

You also state that during your tenure as County Executive, “HCPS has increased its staff by over 650 positions even though school enrollment has declined by over 2,300 students.” This allegation also seems to be false. In 2005, HCPS employed 4,997 staff; 2,589 of whom were teachers. (8) The HCPS FY14 operating budget proposes a total staff of 5,372 with 2,847 of these positions being teachers. (9) That is only an increase of 375 positions. Perhaps you are basing your allegations of an increase of 650 positions on staffing levels in 2004-05, before you were elected in 2006. At any rate, I’m sure you’ll recall the several new schools that have opened during your tenure. These new schools naturally required new staff to fill them. When Red Pump Elementary opened in August of 2011, it required 64 staff (10). Likewise, Patterson Mill Middle/High School, which opened in 2008, now requires more than 120 (11). Just these two ventures would seem to account for almost half of the 375 positions that were added since 2005-06 and about a quarter of the 650 positions you cite. During this period HCPS also added three magnet programs that required additional staff, as well as Aberdeen and Edgewood High, which are substantially larger replacement buildings requiring additional custodians.

I would tend to agree that dipping heavily into fund balances or rainy day funds to fund ongoing expenses can be problematic. Why then do you continually force the Board of Education to do so by religiously underfunding their operations? The June 30, 2012 Fiscal Report indicates that governmental revenues exceeded expenditures by 13.1 million. Couldn’t a portion of this have been allocated to schools? It also states that the General Fund Balance is $98.7 million (12). The June 2011 Fiscal Report indicates a General Fund Balance of $96.8 million (13). The June 2010 Fiscal report indicates a General Fund Balance of $79.3 million (14). The June 2009 Fiscal report indicates a General Fund Balance of $69.9 million (15). The June 2008 Fiscal report indicates a General Fund Balance of $78.9 million (16). Since the General Fund Balance has historically fluctuated but remained around $70 million-$80 million, couldn’t even a small portion of this be allocated to HCPS?

I found it both surprising and interesting that you would raise the issue of fair share fees in a letter that was presented under the guise of discussing, “The county budget as it relates to the public school system.” As you know, fair share fees are meant to offset the costs of negotiations and representation for members of our bargaining unit. Since these fees have not even been negotiated as yet, don’t you think it is a little premature to interject them in a budgetary discussion? Moreover, any negotiated fees will have zero cost to the county and will have no bearing on the county budget. Likewise, I can assure you that whatever the fair share fee ultimately is, it will represent a small fraction of the thousands upon thousands of dollars in wages that teachers have lost thanks to your serial underfunding of HCPS and our negotiated contract.

Similarly, I find it astounding that you continue to assert that you, “Truly do know and understand the difficulties of trying to make ends meet as a teacher with a family for which to provide.” Respectfully, Mr. Craig you neither know nor seemingly care of the hardship, which you have wrought upon our teachers. During your career as an educator, you had steps frozen only once. You did not endure three consecutive years of salary freezes necessitated by an ideologically driven County Executive with his heart set upon the governor’s mansion. Likewise, you were not required to attain a master’s degree nor were your evaluations tied to the standardized test scores of your students. For most of your career, you were not held accountable to the onerous tenets of No Child Left Behind Act. In fact, for much of your career, schools were not even accountable to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. So, respectfully, Mr. Craig, you do not understand what education has become since you dedicated yourself to politics full-time. For you to imply that it is somehow okay to expect teachers to work two or three jobs in the current paradigm, with its increased demands and workloads, is just not reasonable. When you refer to the second jobs you held while an educator, I can only assume that you are counting the years you served as Mayor of Havre de Grace, State Senator and Delegate. Unfortunately, for most of our teachers, their second jobs often involve retail, food service, or manual labor.

I know it is commonplace to blame the State of Maryland for reductions in funding but I hope you realize that state funding for education is governed by a formula. Harford County has lost state funding due to two primary factors: increased wealth and a slight decline in enrollment, with increased wealth being the primary determinant (17). Harford County’s measured wealth has increased by over 60% in the past seven years (18). While I wish that state funding had not decreased, I accept that a wealth based formula is the only way to fulfill the mandate of equal access to a free public education in the Maryland Constitution. As I am sure you are aware multiple court rulings, including, Hornbeck v. Somerset County Board of Education, Bradford v. Maryland State Board of Education, as well as the Commission on Education Finance, Equity, and Excellence substantiate this formula.

While neither you nor I have control over how the Board of Education spends the money which is allocated to their budget, you do control the level of funding which Harford County Government provides. While neither you nor I can change state funding formulas, you can offset losses of state funding by increasing Harford County Government’s contribution to the HCPS budget. We both agree that our teachers work tirelessly and often thanklessly to develop our students, thus, nurturing Harford County’s future. Harford County’s teachers labor long hours; developing innovative lessons and studying current pedagogy to provide each student with their best opportunity to learn. Our teachers sacrifice time with their own families to build a better community for all of Harford County. Our teachers only ask that they are provided vital materials, relevant training and financial stability in return. The recent austerity has already reached deep into our schools and classrooms. Our teachers and students have sacrificed enough. I implore you to provide the funds necessary to ensure that all students in Harford County are afforded equal access to a first-rate education measured by contemporary educational standards.

Sincerely,

Ryan Burbey
President-HCEA

1. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Budget/Prior/Budget2005/generalFund.pdf
2. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Budget/Prior/Budget2005/highlights.pdf
3. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Budget/Download/2151.pdf
4. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Budget/Download/488-136.pdf
5. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Budget/Download/2151.pdf
6. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Budget/Prior/Budget2005/appropriation.pdf
7. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Budget/Download/2151.pdf
8. http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/0C24833A-9CBE-4C09-9010-B7BD88F4B1E0/12105/FACTBOOK2007.pdf
9. http://www.hcps.org/boe/budget/content/fy14/proposed/fy14Positions.pdf
10. http://www.hcps.org/boe/budget/content/FY12/adoptedfiles/FY12Positions.pdf
11. staff http://www.hcps.org/schools/SchoolProfile.aspx?schoolID=87 and http://www.hcps.org/schools/SchoolProfile.aspx?schoolID=88
12. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Treasury/Download/992-1066.pdf
13. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Treasury/Download/992-893.pdf
14. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Treasury/Download/992-684.pdf
15. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Treasury/Download/992-395.pdf
16. http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/Treasury/Download/992-394.pdf
17. http://www.hcps.org/boe/docs/StateAidPresentation.pdf
18. http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/bus_svcs/fb.htm

Comments

  1. shut up says

    Just shut up, he doesn’t have the power to give you any more money! Go ahead and vote for Martin O’ Malley again you dope!

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    • A Liberal says

      Yes he does. He can’t, you dope, O’Malley has served two terms. Your knowledge of government astounds me.

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      • Kharn says

        O’Malley’s running for President in 2016, we’ll have to see what race he enters for 2014 so he’s not unemployed during the campaign. Personally, I think he’ll try to push Babs to retire so he can either be appointed to her seat or run for it.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 8
  2. Take your tax and spend ideas elsewhere says

    Mr. Burbey does not understand or have a grasp of economics since he became a radical.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 32 Thumb down 28
  3. Free Market says

    Hey we are in a recession guy. Perhaps if you would have not supported spend thrift politicians, and those who believe in wasteful spending, there would be more more money for you and your ilk. In the mean time, deal with the money you have, and be thankful for it. We have all had to cut our spending and live within our means. Its about time you start doing the same. You do nothing for your cause by spouting this crap and look like a whiny brat.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 31 Thumb down 23
    • Socrates says

      Just something I have noticed over the years:

      During recessions, social institutions such as public schools are expected to maintain the same level of quality and service as they do in boom times, and in boom times they are expected to maintain the same level of frugality they do in recessionary times. Boom times don’t tend to make taxpayers any more willing to increase funding for social institutions than they are during recessions; if that were the case, funding for the schools, including teacher salaries, would have gone up in proportion to the boom times of the early 2000′s. During boom times, taxpayers tend to view the level of school funding as sufficient, and during recession they tend to view it as exhorbitant.

      To make matters worse, during recessions inflation sets in, and it tends to set in in areas that can’t simply be cut. For example, schools still need to be heated and cooled, and buses need to be run in spite of the increase in costs.

      Don’t get me wrong; I don’t like to see my taxes go up anymore than the next guy, and I have no doubt that there are probably some things that can be cut from the school budget. But let’s keep in mind that when the axe falls, it tends to fall on people at the bottom such as teachers, not people in the middle or upper echelon like the “Supervisor of Supervatory Supervision”. It creates an interesting dichotomy.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 30 Thumb down 4
    • Windy says

      “Hey we are in a recession guy”…he says sitting at his computer in Cedar Day….or Todd Lakes….or Glen Angus…..or….Fallston!!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14
  4. my 2 cents says

    Why is it that people just attack the messenger because of who the messenger is instead of looking at the details? You may believe that Mr. Burbey is cherry picking his figures to support his position but the same can be said for Mr. Craig’s letter.

    Mr. Burbey will always ask that HCPS be given more money as this is needed to provide the step increases, which while not actually negotiated, are absolutely implied when the school system recruits teachers and other staff to HCPS. County government had no problem with these implied salary increases because a quality school system is a significant draw for potential new home owners, developers, businesses seeking an educated workforce, which results in an increasing tax base and more revenue for the county government.

    Mr. Craig had no problem with this arrangement until the recession. While everyone recognized the need to hold the line on county spending Mr. Craig, with the support of the County Council, is continuing to sing this same tune even as the economy in Harford County improves. And while Mr. Craig raises issues with the increased number of positions in the school system many of which are for programs and new school buildings the County Executive, County Council, and county residents wanted, it is ironic that he forgets to acknowledge the increases in the budget and staff of his own office, or that of the County Council.

    As I look back over the years I think Mr. Craig has always been a full time politician. I have spoken to people who worked with him during his time with the school system and have told on more than one occasion that even then he put more effort into his political ambitions than his teaching or assistant principal duties. His position with HCPS was always his part time job.

    The damage being done to the school system is real, and that doesn’t apply just to low salaries. The citizens of Harford County need to recognize that what is happening is the beginning of a serious decline in the product HCPS delivers. There is still time to for a course correction but that time is running out.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 39 Thumb down 13
    • don't damage our brand says

      @ my 2 cents – Although not usually a supporter of Ryan’s views, I will have to agree with you. I try to look past the messenger and listen to the message. The county executive seems to be putting politics first and willing to hurt the Harford County brand in the process. Harford County has always been a great place to live and raise your family. The strength of our schools has been the driving force behind that reputation. Any person willing to sacrifice that for personal political gain doesn’t deserve the support of the people who live and work in this county. My hope is that voters will elect individuals who will put a sustainable plan in place to fix the damage already done and get the Harford County going in the right direction again.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3
  5. Stu Chapamn says

    Nice job Ryan Burbey, the facts you refer to are credible and provide a powerful argument on the behalf of teachers. I have something to say to David Craig also. David Craig, I resent your implication that somehow it is unfair for the county to be expected to contribute toward my pension when I retire. I could have retired after twenty five years service – fifteen years ago! However, I am still teaching and planning to return next fall too- so why don’t you mention the money that many teachers such as myself have actually saved and are still saving for the county! I have always considered the contribution toward my pension as a significant part of my annual compensation and resent the implication that I somehow don’t deserve it when the retirement date does arrive! If you think it is so unfair to expect the county to contribute to pensions of its teachers then I implore you to make a personal public stand on the issue by returning yours to comptroller Franchot. Maybe we can lobby him to send some back to Harford County!

    Well-loved. Thumb up 37 Thumb down 24
    • Conservatives are destroying this county says

      Stu,

      Thank you for your exceptional service to our children. You represent the best of HCPS. You will be sorely missed when your retirement comes. It is unfortunate that you and all HCPS teachers have to be a part of this ridiculous conversation. The selfishness of conservatives in Harford County is astounding. Thier short-sightedness is leading to the deterioration of a great school system. Thanks again!

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      • Jaguar Judy says

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

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        • Kharn says

          The HCEA membership did not even elect him, it was a closed-door vote by the shop stewards. Mr Burbey has continually refused to disclose the number of votes cast to elect him, the number of votes for second place, and the number of non-voters.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 13
          • Ryan Burbey says

            My interim term as HCEA President will end next June. All HCEA members will have the opportunity to weigh in on the job I am doing by casting their votes then. We do not have shop stewards. We have building representatives. I was elected by a majority of them. Amarilyz Pimentel ran against me. She currently serves as our Vice President. It was not a closed door vote. My interim election strictly followed our bylaws and policies. Any HCEA member who wishes to review the vote count may simply contact me.
            The funding problems in HCPS did not start with my election. They have existed for many years. However, I intend to change this. I will not be deterred and I will not rest until we have an equitable public education system in Harford County.
            “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
            Ralph Waldo Emerson

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          • Kharn says

            Mr Burbey,
            The problems with your suggestion for any interested HCEA member to visit you to discuss the results are as follows:
            1. It opens any inquiring member up to reprisal or inaction on behalf of HCEA if that person requests such assistance in the future, as that person shows they’re not fully in your camp (and who knows, you might win reelection). Who can predict if they’ll need the union’s help between now and 2018?
            2. You would be able to present different data to different inquirers, showing a strong mandate to someone that might oppose your reelection, but a by-the-tip-of-your-nose result to someone who would give you extra support if they felt you had a viable challenger.
            3. It allows you to determine who might be interested in running for your position, giving you the time and ability to work to defeat that person and their positions through your policy and administrative choices over the next year, instead of running your own ideas and facing an election on your record.

            The best solution would be to publish the information in the HCEA newsletter, so all HCEA members could see the data, without possible bias or advantage to you, and they could confirm the results match the recollection of their building’s representative.

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          • Socrates says

            Kharn,

            Just out of curiosity, why do you care so much about what happens in HCEA? Are you a member who is affected by the actions of this group? Do you think that a different union president would be less adamant about getting funds for the people he/she represents? I haven’t seen many (if any) HCEA members voicing their dismay at the actions of HCEA or their president in this forum (or any other, for that matter), so I have to believe they are at least OK with things as they are.

            You seem to be very concerned about the quality of education children are receiving, and seeing that things within the school system are run fairly and efficiently. You’ve also made mention over time and in so many words how teachers are paid fairly (I tend to agree) and have perks that many people in other fields would be glad to have. The passion you have for education seems sincere, so I ask accordingly: why are you not a teacher?

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            HCEA members already have the data. We have a Board of Tellers that counts votes, as well as, a Nominations and Elections Committee that sets the rules. I will not serve on these.
            I don’t care who’s camp anyone is in. I have a legal obligation to represent members and to make sure they get representation when needed. HCEA will assist, counsel and represent all of its members.
            I encourage members to run for office. If they don’t like the job I am doing. First, they should let me know. Second, if they aspire to lead they should become involved and run. I will not hinder or obstruct anyone from running for any HCEA office, including president.

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          • Kharn says

            Socrates:
            Because I worked hard and sacrificed in my younger years so I could be successful in a profession that lets my wife stay at home, while at the same time avoiding needing a second job to make ends meet.

            Mr Burbey:
            Noble words, but believing them comes at considerable risk.

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        • Teacher says

          If I have to pay a fair labor fee to the union , do I now get a vote as to who is president? Since this is the person I have to pay to negotiate for me I should be given a say.

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          • Kharn says

            No, you only get to vote if you pay the full dues, which are nearly $600/yr…

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4
          • Teacher says

            Didn’t think so. I was a member and needed the $600 to pay my bills. Why pay for something that cries more money and then my work load becomes more. Yes it would be nice to earn my steps. Just have come to the conclusion we are the football in a political game that no one really cares about. Then the teacher finds themselves in the end of their career being told that for 20+ years you were good but this last year we have concern and need to monitor your every move. Just to get them to retire or resign since they have the high salary and then they won’t replace them. Makes their job easier, they don’t get rid of the bad teachers just tolerate enough since their salaries are lower.

            Since our evaluations are going to be tied to raises don’t worry tax payers. They won’t find any of us worthy so you won’t have to worry about paying us any money. So if this is the case why do we need a union to negotiate pay scales, none of us will every see them!!! That is the part of the evaluation system though that hasn’t been explained well by local, state or Feds.

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    • Socrates says

      Kharn:

      It sounds like you are in a very good profession, and it has worked out very well for yourself and your family.

      But regardless of your current career, or maybe even moreso because your career is not in education, I’m fascinated by your zealousness regarding the teaching profession, and by the attention you give to the workings of the teachers union.

      Did you ever want to be a teacher? Did or do you think that becoming a teacher would mean that you would have to work two jobs?

      Why do you care about how the president of an organization that you don’t belong to was elected?

      This is all just out of curiosity, and I don’t come across as being facetious.

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      • Socrates says

        That should have been “I HOPE I don’t come across as being facetious”. A little proofreading goes a long way…

        Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2
      • Kharn says

        Because both the HCEA and HCPS affect education in this county, and when one wastes resources chasing windmills, or dealing with the other’s Quixotic demands, my interests are not furthered. I believe Mr Burbey is not the best representative for teacher’s interests, and he wraps himself in the flag of “its for the children” (and that includes my children he claims to be working for) while demanding concessions from HCPS that anyone with business or public policy experience would see are unattainable.

        Both sides need to focus on realistic goals for education in Harford to improve.

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    • Paul Schatz says

      Stu, you are a shining example of the magnificent quality of most of the HCPS teachers I worked with over the years. You have more knowledge of how politicians and the board play the system in your big toe than all of the teabaggers who have been blowing wind on this website. Thanks for all you have done for students k to 12 throughout your career. And for how you have worked to improve the profession we have chosen.

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  6. Moose antlers says

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

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    • Ryan Burbey says

      The funding problem that HCPS face is mischaracterized as being solely about teachers’ pay. Yes, teachers should be able to rely on getting their yearly salary increments. However, HCPS simply cannot sustain the program with the current funding level. In reality, the public school program in Harford County needs substantial expansion to ensure equity for all students. This will require additional funding.

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      • Kharn says

        Mr Burbey:
        How about listing out the inequities you currently perceive, and the expenditures required to fix them?

        Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
      • Ryan Burbey says

        As the next year unfolds, HCEA will be working to address the inequities of opportunity which our students face. It is my hope that HCPS and HCEA can work together with Harford County Government to solve these problems. As to to the specific expenditures, that will require substantial research and fact gathering. I simply can’t pull numbers out of the air. One of the cost neutral problem which could easily be addressed is providing all students with a 30 minute lunch period. You can sign a petition by following the link on this site.
        http://standupforpubliceducation.weebly.com/give-students-time-to-eat-lunch.html

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        • Kharn says

          How about listing three of them?
          Extending lunch time is not cost-neutral, it would cost more as the school day would have to be lengthened to retain the same instructional time, and I’m sure the HCEA would not agree to that without some compensation.

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            1. Unequal access to elective High School content
            2. Unequal access to current technology
            3. Unequal access to foreign languages in middle schools

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          • Kharn says

            What are your most egregious examples of #1 and #2? (#3 was recently discussed on this website)

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    • Paul Schatz says

      The answer is the union then would be able to focus more time and energy to creative solutions to improve student outcomes. The mention of teacher bullshit is a sign of lack of depth of knowledge. The bullshit lies in the long drawn out ineffective bargaining process that is played by the boe and the serpentine budget begging process further complicated by the lack of importance Americans seem to grant teachers. The rest of the industrialized world treats education with respect.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  7. idontgetit says

    JJ I don’t get it. I am a teacher, hcea member, and a republican and Burbey is doing what he was elected to do advocate for the teachers. I will repeat what has been said many times over. This is a contract that is given to all teachers when hired. When times were good teachers weren’t out trying to get even more money they were happy with what they had agreed upon. No one, and I mean all of you on here, complained that teachers made too much money in the good times. In all honesty, most of you probably laughed at the teachers pay scale when times were good.

    So your motto is when it is good the private sector will take as much as they can, and when it is bad it is the teachers fault.

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    • Socrates says

      This is part of an earlier posting, but I think it goes to exactly what you are saying:

      During recessions, social institutions such as public schools are expected to maintain the same level of quality and service as they do in boom times, and in boom times they are expected to maintain the same level of frugality they do in recessionary times. Boom times don’t tend to make taxpayers any more willing to increase funding for social institutions than they are during recessions; if that were the case, funding for the schools, including teacher salaries, would have gone up in proportion to the boom times of the early 2000?s. During boom times, taxpayers tend to view the level of school funding as sufficient, and during recession they tend to view it as exhorbitant.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4
      • John P. Mallamo says

        Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates

        Sir, Ma’am

        Your statement may not be quite factual. from 1991 to 2011 the BOE budget increased @$7M a year. In 2006 it increased $21M, in 2007, $14M, and in 2008, $10M. The problem is that year over year it increaes steadily, and then there is a huge increase.

        Unfortunately, there is no longer a huge equivalent increase in County revenues.

        John P. Mallamo

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        • Socrates says

          The reason for this could be, at least in part, because of increased costs of doing business. Some of the largest expenses that a school system has were in the most inflationary sectors of the economy throughout the recession: gasoline prices to run buses, energy costs for heating and cooling buildings, and medical insurance, just to name a few. In the years you listed, there were also a number of schools that were built and needed to be equiped and maintained throughout those years, and several that were completely refurbished. This would certainly drive up expenditures.

          I think what we would have to do to get a clearer picture is to see how much costs went up during these years and compare it to the increase in funding. I have no idea how you would do such a thing; I don’t know if complete budget information from past years are available.

          Food for thought.

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates
            Sir, Ma’am
            The increased costs year over year would be covered in the annual average increase to the budget. The very large increases, like the $22M in the 2014, budget do require much closer scrutiny.
            I do not believe that school construction is included in the annual operating budget, nor is equipping a new school. Those costs are included in the capital budget.

            Perhaps a closer scrutiny of the budgets would reveal where the money goes. A challenge for you perhaps?

            John P. Mallamo

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          • Socrates says

            The answer to your questions: No, no, no, yes.

            But once, while I was serving in the Army, I had a discussion with a Staff Sergeant who stated that he thought members of the military should be much higher paid because of the level of importance of their work. But again, this was said in conversation and he was in no way decrying his salary.

            I’m a little confused about your statement “maybe you might see that there are others in situations that are more troubling.” First, I have to ask: who are these “others” you are referring to? Since you went on to ask questions regarding members of the military, I’m guessing that you meant them. If I’m wrong please let me know.

            Second, regardless of who you are referring to, I have reread everything I’ve written in this thread and can’t see anywhere I have stated, mentioned, or implied that there are not people in situations more troubling that any of the above. If I have and I am missing it, can you point it out to me?

            I noticed that you didn’t answer the questions from my previous post. Like my original statement, this is of course, just an observation. But you did say that I was “speculating and making unfounded presumptions on what people footing the bill want” when I said that taxpayers don’t want to pay more in taxes regardless of the economic climate. If you think my observational skills are skewed, that’s ok and we can all be grateful that my observations have little to no impact on the world around us.

            But again, just out of curiosity, what have you observed? Have you ever known or heard of a citizen who didn’t mind seeing taxes go up, even in boom times? Have you ever heard a citizen who accepted a recession as a legitimate explanation for decreased school performance? I’m really curious to know if your (or anyone else’s) observations are any different from mine. I’m not one to stand by a thought, an observation, or an opinion that I know has been refuted.

            Again, my question no way implies that I don’t know that there are people in more troubling situations. I just want to be clear about that, even though I don’t see how my statement regarding people’s attitude towards taxes in any way implies that I don’t know that “there are others in more troubling situations”.

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates
            Sir, Ma’am

            To your questions.
            first check your sentence regarding the chagrin of those footing the bill. It appears to me that you presumed that people footing the bill were chagrined by budget increases. Any basis in fact for that?

            Regarding taxes. I personally equate paying taxes to sitting in a fine resturant, eating a fine meal, in good company, perhaps indulging in fine wine, with smooth bourbon and a mellow cigar after dinner and paying what might be an exorbitant bill, and leaving an exagerated tip. Would it be fair to refuse to pay? No. Short the serving staff? No. Would it be wise to go if money were not available? No. Likewise with taxes. Fair to refuse to pay, or short the staff? In both cases no. The difficulty comes when there is not enough money to cover the cost of either the fine meal or the cost of government.

            Most of the people I know understand that government takes money to provide services. There objections are when their taxes rise more than their incomes. It was not to long ago when property taxes went up 10% per year, and the tax rate was one of the highest in the State. How long do you think you could have continued to afford to live in Harford County under those conditions? More than a few were concerned enough to seek a change to the situation. Most of those sought good governance, effective government and efficient operations for the taxes they paid.

            Regarding the recession and expectations of schools. Just my observation, the education system seems to be stuck in a mindset that money will always be available and that they deserve to get what ever they ask for. This is a national issue. Chicago School Board just voted to close quite a few schools becuase they don’t have the money to pay for them. The city of Detroit is on the verge of bankruptcy. To be honest it is hard to imagine they can avoid that fate. Stockton, California is in bankruptcy. Harrisburg, PA missed debt payments. and the list goes on. Is Harford County on nearing the same situation? Not unless they fail to carefully manage all the financial pieces. One of those pieces is education, specifically, salary. In order for personnel in HCPS to get more money, some other budget line must get less. Or alternatively, the tax structure must be changed. My observation is that every other agency in the budget is operating on a thin margin. None of them can give up much more. As to raising taxes. Not a very good idea, since it would not sustain any future growth, so that every time employees wanted a raise taxes would go up again. So do I expect less from the schools in a recession. No. Do I expect less of anyone else working in the government? No. Would I like more money? Sure. Is it reasonable for me to expect it? No.

            Just my observations

            John P. Mallamo

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs/Ms./Miss O
            Sir, Ma’am
            Mr. Burbey
            Sir,

            Your postings about the why other Harford County employees are not publicly discussing their situation has confirmed my observation on their dignity and professionalism.

            John P. Mallamo

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          • Socrates says

            John M. Mallamo:

            I’m starting to get the feeling that you were offended in some way by my original statement regarding taxpayers distaste for budget increases. I honestly didn’t think this was an offensive statement; it wasn’t meant to be offensive and if it was, I apologize.

            To answer your question as to whether I had any basis in fact regarding my statement: no, I did not. I did not conduct a survey or a poll of any kind. I never specifically asked anyone if they preferred seeing their taxes increase. You stated that I “presumed that people footing the bill were chagrined by budget increases”. You are absolutely correct. I have never heard or witnessed anyone making positive statements about funding budget increases and based on my own limited experience, I presumed it to true that taxpayers don’t like tax increases.

            So, I would like to restate it so it may better indicate it as such and may not cause confusion:

            I, me personally, as an individual, having never witnessed, heard, or read any person voicing approval of an increase in the funding of a public institution and the consequent increase in tax payments, but having witnessed, heard, and read many taxpayers actually frown upon aforesaid increases, believe it may be possible that taxpayers in general, but not necessarily in total, dislike paying a greater amount of taxes and might even prefer paying less taxes. Furthermore, having witnessed this phenomenon during both times of economic prosperity (such as the dot-com era of the late 90′s, or the housing boom of the early to mid 2000′s) and times of economic downturn (such as the energy crisis of the late 70′s, the S&L bailout of the late 80′s and the housing bust of the late 2000′s) believe this sentiment to be impervious to economic climate. DISCLAIMER: This statement, observation, and/or opinion is based solely on personal experience; no scientifically or statistically sound methods were used in the development of this idea, and none are implied. Any person reading this statement should consider it strictly anecdotal and not based on recorded fact. This observation is not intended to be a criticism regarding either the generosity or frugality of any taxpayer or taxpayers as a whole. This statement is not intended to portray the employees of Harford County or any other of the 3,143 counties and parishes in the United States in a negative light, and no doubt regarding their dignity and professionalism is intended. As the author of this statement, I would like to take this opportunity to express gratitude for the sacrifices made by the brave men and women serving in our armed forces. Hooah!

            Let me know if there is anything more I should clarify.

            Also, and just out of curiosity, have you ever personally witnessed, heard, or read of any taxpayer who approved of an increase in the amount of tax they had to pay? I haven’t, but I’m interested to find out if you have.

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          • JC says

            Actually I have personally witnesses, heard, and read of taxpayers all over this country approve of increasing the amount of taxes they have to pay. It happens at the ballot box where after much public discussion ballot initiatives and bond issues are approved by the voters. In a less direct way it happens when candidates who run on a platform that supports maintaining or even increasing government services are elected.

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        • Socrates says

          John P. Mallamo:

          Also, keep in mind that my statement was not a “factual” type of statement; It was more of an observation of the attitude of taxpayers in general: no one welcomes a tax increase regardless of the economic climate. The budget has indeed increased over the years, albeit to the chagrin of those who are footing the bill.

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates
            Sir, Ma’am

            You clearly have a right to state your opinion, and you should at every opportunity as you see fit. You are, though, speculating and making unfounded presumptions on what people footing the bill want. Your case would be much stronger if you stayed with facts and not a personal opinion. The reality is that this is an absolutely serious situation, that should not be resolved by personal opinion, observation or presumption.

            John P. Mallamo

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          • Socrates says

            Mr. Mallamo,

            Good information. I didn’t know that school construction was not included in the annual operating budget. Now that you mention it, it certainly makes sense that it would be part of the capital budget. And I agree: the large jumps from one year to the next certainly warrant greater scrutiny.

            It would definitely be interesting to look at the school system’s annual operating budget. I’ve only seen one of these once, but it was several years ago and I remember few details. That’s when I came to realize how costly special education services were. An eye opener for sure.

            If you go back to the original thread where I posted this comment, I prefaced it with the words “Just something I’ve noticed over the years”. This is exactly what my statement was; just something I’ve noticed over the years. Perhaps I should have included those words here, but I felt the context of the letter would be understood as a general observation rather than something that was based on research.

            I agree with you 100% that “The reality is that this is an absolutely serious situation, that should not be resolved by personal opinion, observation or presumption”. That’s why I never proposed a resolution based on my observation. I could say the same about my “speculating and making unfounded presumptions on what people footing the bill want”. I don’t consider it “unfounded”, as it was founded upon personal observation; I thought I stated it clearly and thought would be understood as such.

            Just out of curiosity, what have you observed? Have you ever known anyone who didn’t mind seeing their taxes increase even in the best of economic times? I personally have never known or heard anyone say “I don’t mind seeing my taxes go up” regardless of the economic climate. What about the quality of schools? I have never heard anyone accept a decrease in the school performance for any reason, including an economic recession. How about you? Have you ever known someone who accepted less from the school system because of a recession, or would accept a recession as an excuse for decreased performance?

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss Socrates
            Sir, Ma’am

            Let’s change the venue of your question just a little bit, and maybe you might see that there are others in situations that are more troubling.

            Have you ever known military personnel to decry their pay in public?
            Have you ever known military personnel to promise less than their absolute best, because they don’t get paid more?
            Have you ever known military personnel to state publicly that they are worth far more than they get paid?
            Do you enjoy the freedom and benefits resulting from the actions of those military personnel on your behalf?

            In that context and by way of contrast and in my observation, your discussion seems just a bit less important.

            Please think about that over the weekend.

            John P. Mallamo

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          • O says

            The military is a different animal, and members do not have the right to complain about such matters. Your comparison is both inappropriate and self serving.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2
          • Socrates says

            The answer to your questions: No, no, no, yes.

            But once, while I was serving in the Army, I had a discussion with a Staff Sergeant who stated that he thought members of the military should be much higher paid because of the level of importance of their work. But again, this was said in conversation and he was in no way decrying his salary.

            I’m a little confused about your statement “maybe you might see that there are others in situations that are more troubling.” First, I have to ask: who are these “others” you are referring to? Since you went on to ask questions regarding members of the military, I’m guessing that you meant them. If I’m wrong please let me know.

            Second, regardless of who you are referring to, I have reread everything I’ve written in this thread and can’t see anywhere I have stated, mentioned, or implied that there are not people in situations more troubling that any of the above. If I have and I am missing it, can you point it out to me?

            I noticed that you didn’t answer the questions from my previous post. Like my original statement, this is of course, just an observation. But you did say that I was “speculating and making unfounded presumptions on what people footing the bill want” when I said that taxpayers don’t want to pay more in taxes regardless of the economic climate. If you think my observational skills are skewed, that’s ok and we can all be grateful that my observations have little to no impact on the world around us.

            But again, just out of curiosity, what have you observed? Have you ever known or heard of a citizen who didn’t mind seeing taxes go up, even in boom times? Have you ever heard a citizen who accepted a recession as a legitimate explanation for decreased school performance? I’m really curious to know if your (or anyone else’s) observations are any different from mine. I’m not one to stand by a thought, an observation, or an opinion that I know has been refuted.

            Again, my question no way implies that I don’t know that there are people in more troubling situations. I just want to be clear about that, even though I don’t see how my statement regarding people’s attitude towards taxes in any way implies that I don’t know that “there are others in more troubling situations”.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss O
            Sir, Ma’am

            Just stating my observations.

            Just for your benefit though, how about all of the other public employees in Harford County who have endured furloughs and bypassed pay raises far more so than teachers. I have observed that none of them has launched great campaigns to excoriate the County Executive for not giving them more money. Have you? Don’t they have the same right to publicly complain? Or could it be that they have a greater level of digintiy and professionalism? Just asking.

            Me I believe it is their dignity and professionalism.

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          • O says

            County employees are afraid to complain lest they be looking for another job. Your comparison is yet again inappropriate and to suggest county government employees have more dignity and professionalism than school system employees is insulting and without merit. Your Campaign For Liberty stripes are showing.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3
          • Ryan Burbey says

            County Employees have been mistreated too. Unfortunately, they do not have the same collective bargaining rights that we, teachers, do. They deserve better. The real crime is that it was totally unnecessary. Only one year was Harford County even at any real detriment. I hope that the county employees will grow tired of the non-sense and work collectively with HCEA.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4
          • Socrates says

            John P. Mallamo:

            On your post regarding county employees:

            “They’ve endured more than teachers”…yes, I agree.
            “None of them have launched campaigns.”… as far as I know, that’s true.
            “Have you?”…have I what? Launched a campaign against David Craig?” No I haven’t.
            “Don’t they have a right to complain?” Yes, they certainly do.
            “Could it be they have…dignity and professionalism?” It could very well be.
            “Just asking.” And I am answering.

            “Me I believe it is their dignity and professionalism.” I believe it is too.

            I’m not sure why you prefaced your post with “for your benefit; I never said anything against or even about county employees, or at least I don’t think I did. I’m not sure why you thought that I wouldn’t think as highly of county employees as you do. Could you tell me, where in my original post did I say anything that would indicate any degree of disdain for county employees?

            Just for your benefit though, how about all of the other public employees in Harford County who have endured furloughs and bypassed pay raises far more so than teachers. I have observed that none of them has launched great campaigns to excoriate the County Executive for not giving them more money. Have you? Don’t they have the same right to publicly complain? Or could it be that they have a greater level of digintiy and professionalism? Just asking.

            Me I believe it is their dignity and professionalism.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2
        • Socrates says

          My apologies. Somehow, my previous post was posted just above, and several blocks above that. The repost was unintentional and inadvertent, and I hope it does not cause confusion for anyone following this thread.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
        • Socrates says

          I have to issue another apology. On my last post, I included John M. Mallamo’s entire post regarding county employees. I meant to put quotes around it. Imperfection is my style. My apologies for any confusion.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  8. Marta says

    Thank you Mr. Burbey for providing facts and proof of support when Mr. Craig presented false claims.

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  9. HCEA proud says

    Thank you Mr. Burbey. Your letter stated many facts while Mr. Craig’s letter was full of general responses. I guess that makes him a perfect candidate for Governor!!

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    • JC says

      According to the opinion of a reporter for the local newspaper Mr. Craig is the perfect candidate to be the next permanent HCPS Superintendent. I got ill at the thought.

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      • Cdev says

        I read that and thought it was a satire piece. When I figured out he was serious I about shat myself!

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

          After these past few years of how Mr. Craig has under funded the BOE, not to mention how he has tried to shove a new HdG HS down their throats, he couldn’t even get a job as a janitor.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
  10. Bel Air Fed says

    is this the smart alec clown that always gets his mug on county council cable? Tons of Harford Fed employees getting their furlough notices next week – 20% of their salary gone. This clown needs to get hit over the head with some reality. maybe they could use MOM’s head to beat this guy’s and knock some common sense into both of them.

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  11. Nothing is Ever Enough says

    By Mr. Burbey’s own admission, a full FORTY FIVE PERCENT of our tax dollars go to HCPS. What do you contend is enough, sir? 60%? 70? 80? While I would never want to be accused of defending the RINO David Craig, what we all need to understand is that some teachers union members will not be happy until 100% is allocated to education. And even then, those same folks would clamor for more.

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    • Mike Welsh says

      You are correct. In the minds of those involved with the public education system, there will never be enough money to properly fund education. Private education is a different story.

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      • Monster says

        Mike, what do you mean that private education is a different story? Could you explain a bit more what you intend with that comment? Thanks.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
        • Mike Welsh says

          Private education has a bottom line. If they are not turning out a good product they will have to close their doors. Some have closed their doors simply because they were unable to stay above the bottom line. You can’t continue to lose money and still operate unless you are government. Private education see themselves as producing a product. Government education see themselves as providing a service. The mindset between the two is totally different.

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          • Cdev says

            Thats because one is Constitutionally mandated to exist and the other exists to provide an alternative to those who can pay.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
          • Mike Welsh says

            Correct. And those who can pay will only do so if they believe that the alternative is better and worthwhile. They don’t do it just because it exists.

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    • Socrates says

      The average percentage can go up for two reasons: increase in funding, or decrease in available funds. For example, if I made 100K last year and my mortagee payments totalled 50k, then I could say that 50% of my money went to pay my mortgage. But if this year I only make 80k while still spending 50k on my mortgage (a fixed cost), my mortgage now costs 62.5% of my salary.

      If I were then to say “My mortgage payments went up 12.5% in one year”, people tend to assume increased costs (taxes and insurance), not less funds.

      As I mentioned on another post, the difficulty for schools is that we tend to expect the same service regardless of economic climate, and in recession their costs (like everyone else’s) goes up due to inflation. At the same time the available funds decrease, which increases the percent of money spent on schools even if the dollar amount stays the same.

      That’s why I’m generally cautious when I here public or political figures speak in terms of percent, as it an easy way to tell the truth while concealing the facts.

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    • JC says

      Those school systems that are recognized as the best in MD and some the best in the country their citizens and elected officials place at higher value on their school systems and routinely fund them at a percentage more than the 45% in Harford County. This has been going on for years and is why HCPS, once recognized as one of the premiere school systems in MD, is now ranked in the middle of the pack. You get what you pay for. This is also something that was recognized by many in NJ who refused to move their families to Harford County with BRAC.

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

        Many BRAC employees are dreaming of a return to Jersey, they have never considered assimilating into MD’s population. Not because of the schools, but because of the entire culture of the state, they dislike the slower lifestyle, the “horrible” pizza and bagels, distance from the beach, “bad” drivers, our disinterest in New York City and any number of other complaints.

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        • JC says

          I have personally spoken to BRAC transplants with school aged children who said a major factor in their decision to not permanently (they rent apartments or homes together with other BRAC employees, stay here during the week and go back to NJ over the weekend) was because of the school system in Harford County. AA County has had greater success in having transfers permanently relocate there because their school system is seen as better than our by some. Student population is growing in AA County and they devote more resources to their school system than Harford County. The gov and others like to claim that MD. has the #1 ranked school system in the country. That is based on the criteria used by one publication. Other respected organizations that do such rankings put several other states above MD – one being NJ.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
          • Kharn says

            Schools may be a factor for some, but the issues go much deeper.

            Most BRAC jobs moving to AA were coming from Arlington and Falls Church, the cultural difference between the two areas pales in comparison to the rift between Harford and Northern Jersey, not to mention the distance between the two is much shorter so going back to see old friends or to a favorite restaurant is much easier. Fort Monmouth was also considered inside the NYC metro area for pay, so every employee took a significant paycut which has fueled a significant part of their discontent (most overlook that they are paying significantly less for housing in this area as they would for comparable properties in NJ; APG is inside the DC metro pay area, NYC gets a 28.72% multiplier, while DC gets 24.22%, or around $3k for a mid-career employee).

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  12. Concerned Parent says

    Does this Burbey guy teach? Wondering where he gets all the time to sit on here and post all day. I feel for his students.

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    • Cdev says

      The HCEA president is not in the classroom. He is compensated at the same rate as a teacher from HCEA and when his term is over he goes back to the classroom.

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

        And that’s one reason some might support voting for the incumbent…

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    • Sad says

      In PA most citizens pay about 70-75% of propert tax to the schools… Harford county 45%. You get what you pay for

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
      • Mike Welsh says

        Sad,

        How about the children in PA, are they much smarter than the children in Harford? How do they compare to one another? Hopefully, if you get what you pay for, the PA students are 30% smarter than the Harford County students.

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        • O says

          The quality of an education is not measured solely by student intelligence, or test scores. Yours is not a fair or practical comparison between funding and school system success.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
          • Mike Welsh says

            I would agree with you 100%. That’s why you don’t always get what you pay for! The PA system of school funding does not necessarily produce or achieve better outcomes simply because they allocate a higher percentage of tax revenue to education.

            My question was directed to the person who stated that “you get what you pay for”. There are too many things in life where you don’t get what you pay for, and education is no exception.

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  13. Marta says

    I want to see Kharn, JJ, and Nothing’s ever Enough go to the next Council Budget hearing and explain their point of view to the hundreds of teachers who work hard every day to better the life of Harford County students. The problem with the Harford County Community is that they comprehend little what a teacher does misplaces what is valuable in life.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6
    • Kharn says

      If I wanted to address the teachers, I’d write an open letter to Dagger, the Aegis or the Sun. The teachers are not the audience at council meetings.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11
        • Kharn says

          Do you speak on street corners when you want a billionaire to listen to you, or do you make an appointment and visit his office? The council meetings are recorded so everyone can observe their government in action, not so one citizen can deliver a message to a group other than the council members.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9
    • Jaguar Judy says

      No, Marta, the problem with Harford County taxpayers is that they are tired having the taxes they pay spent by HCPS and the BOE on silly programs and bloated bureaucracy while the people who do the real work – the teachers – are hung out to dry. And the only answer the taxpayers see is by saying no more money. Spend what you have differently and be fair to the teachers while cutting the fat.

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  14. Nothing is Ever Enough says

    I never disparaged the hard work of our teachers. In fact, if you knew who I was, I feel confident that you would feel pretty awful about that gross mischaracterization of my comment. You seem unable to divorce your emotion fron reality, and in so doing, you ignore the reality of limitations on spending. But alas, such is the inevitable course of the statist: just print more!

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  15. Socrates says

    Nothing is Ever Enough,

    You stated in an earlier post: “some teachers union members will not be happy until 100% is allocated to education. And even then, those same folks would clamor for more.” Is this true? Have you actually talked with teachers who have said this? To me it doesn’t seem like something any person would deem possible regardless of which side of the issue they stand. It certainly doesn’t sound complimentary and I have to admit that went I first read it, I interpreted it as being a bit on the disparaging side. Even in this post when you said “just print more”; do you really believe that teacher’s union members think you could just print more money to fix the problem? I think some people might even look at this as a disparaging remark, as you are making a statement that assumes these people are ignorant and unintelligent.

    People tend to view others through a lens that includes statements they make. Regardless of who you are (and maybe moreso because of who you are) if you make remarks that paint others as ignorant and unintellgent simply because you disagree with them, they will tend to see you in a negative light.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4
  16. Luther Lingus says

    In short, give us more of your tax dollars so we can donate more money to the political campaigns of Obama, Owe Malley and rest of the Demtards.

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    • Socrates says

      Is this true? Is HCPS taking tax dollars they are given to run the school system and donating money to political campaigns? Frankly, I don’t care if they are giving their funds to Republicans, Democrats, Federalists or the Whig party for that matter; they have no business handing taxpayer money over to ANY political party.

      If you have more information on this, could you please provide?

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  17. Nothing is Ever Enough says

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

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    • Parent says

      You need to define “staggering amount.”

      Readers on this site continually blast a “bloated” administration. Once and for all I wish specifics for cuts would be brought forward. Constant blathering…

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      • JC says

        Your request has been made of these posters on the DAGGER many times before. They never state specifics. It is much easier to blather than to do solid research to back up their claims. When have any of these people shown up at the County Executives budget hearings, BOE, County Council or Community Council meetings, etc.? They haven’t and won’t. That might undermine their mantra.

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    • Socrates says

      Yes, I understand about the printing of money and the economic policies of various political parties, etc.

      But you stated that “some teachers union members will not be happy until 100% is allocated to education. And even then, those same folks would clamor for more.” and that these people think the government should “just print more” money. My question was to whether or not this was true and if so, how do you know this? Do you actually know teachers who think this is how to solve the problem of funding the school budget? These comments, as I said, are certainly not complimentary, but you denied that they were disparaging. So how should these remarks be taken by the people they were directed at?

      Just out of curiousity…what percentage of teachers in HCPS do you think are failing or underperforming?

      Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
  18. Marta says

    Perhaps because even with thoughtful trimming all you would get would be more teachers “let go” or positions that empty due to transfers not being re-hired resulting in higher amounts of students in the classroom. Because let’s face it, teachers will be the victims of the trimming even if it is well-intended to cut upper-management. Teachers have no power within their schools or the county, and upper-management within schools and within the county have all the power. In addition, there is not a proper checks and balances in place.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1
  19. Nothing is Ever Enough says

    But that is the problem, Marta. You just nailed it: teachers pay for the top-heavy nature of public education. It is not just the salary of administrators that needs to be considered. It is the total compensation package–health care, pension, etc. Everyone talks about being only concerned with the well-being of the students. But if we take an honest assessment, if it means sacrificing some on compensation or benefits, we don’t give an inch. So we are left with an endless tug-of-war between realistic spending and demand for money. We would do well to dispense with the practice of playing on emotions regarding how policy will harm teachers and students, and look for better ways to manage education efficiently. Perhaps I was a bit reactionary initially, and I apologize. But I just grow weary of all the ways in which people dream up spending my money.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8
    • Socrates says

      I think it was very good of you to make an apology, and to make it in a manner in which your sincerity shows. These are emotional issues as much as they are financial and scholastic, and it is not hard for any of us to succumb on occasion.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  20. Marta says

    “I’m fed up with teachers and their hefty salary guides. What we need here is a little perspective. If I had my way, I’d pay these teachers myself…I’d pay them babysitting wages.

    That’s right…instead of paying these out-rageous taxes, I’d give them $3.00 an hour out of my own pocket. And, I’m only going to pay them for five hours, not coffee breaks. That would be $15.00 a day. Each parent should pay $15.00 a day for these teachers to babysit their children. Even if they have more than one child, it’s still cheaper than private daycare.

    Now how many children do they teach a day – maybe twenty? That’s $15.00 X 20 = $300.00 a day.

    But remember, they only work 180 days a year! I’m not going to pay them for all those vacations.

    $300 X 180 = $54,000. (Just a minute, I think my calculator needs batteries.)

    I know you teachers will say what about those who have ten years of experience and a master’s degree? Well, maybe (just to be fair) they could get the minimum wage, and instead of just babysitting, they could read the kids a story. We can round that off to about $5.00 an hour, times five hours, times twenty children. $5.00 X 5 X 20.

    That’s $500 a day times 180 days. That’s $90,000.

    HUH???? Wait a minute. Let’s get a little perspective here.

    Babysitting wages are too good for those teachers. Did anyone see a salary guide around here???! ”

    - And just think … at the high school they teach closer to 120 students…hum.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1
  21. Marta says

    Nothing is Ever Enough – Do you know that teachers get minimal choice in their benefits packages. In addition compared to 3 years ago what is taken out of their salary for benefits has increased drastically, as well as co-pays, and emergency visits. Prime example, when I had my first child three years ago with health insurance the cost was minimal for my stay at most 800. Now (after more has been taken out of my salary to pay for healthcare that the county pretty much chooses) my second child’s birth cost myself and my husband 5,000. We have made cuts to benefits, both in what is now offered to us and in how much is taken out of our salary – yet still no cuts from upper administration.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
    • Parent says

      You have three choices for health care. Excellent benefits and coverage provided.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 10
  22. Nothing is Ever Enough says

    Marta, did you read my post? I don’t think you did. I have repeatedly given deference to teachers and criticized the top-heavy nature of education. And if you are wondering why the cost of healthcare is rising, perhaps you should consider AFA’s impact…

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  23. Marta says

    You are absolutely right that they are excellent, but the fact that we have constantly made more payments in these areas was going ignored.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  24. veteranteach. says

    With the limited number of teacher turnovers, we do not need the Instructional Facilitators or Teacher mentors. What is the job of the leadership team at each school? In special education, the waste is remarkable. Some children require 2 aids because a child’s parents will not allow them to attend John Archer for their educational program. Whatever the parents wants, they get in HCPS special education program. No one has a backbone in that department and it is costing the taxpayers millions. I hear that cutbacks in positions is coming shortly. Let’s look to see how many are classroom positions and how many are administrative positions.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3
    • Parent says

      In understand that the instructional facilitators play a vital role in elementary schools. They have been phased out in secondary. Mentors are required by state law.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5
    • Cdev says

      I would say IF’s and mentors are not required in ALL schools but if a school has had 10-25 teachers turn over each year for the last 5 years you might need that extra bit of leadership just to handle the increased number of required observations alone.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
      • also a teacher says

        There are few schools with such turnover and usually this is the result of teachers wanting to get away from their school’s administrators. All IF’s should be eliminated and significant reductions in mentors positions is warranted.

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

          Well as it is schools share mentors when appropriate and the few secondary schools with IFs are indeed ones with higher turnover rates!

          Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
          • also a teacher says

            There are schools with only one or two probationary teachers on staff but still have IF’s and mentors. Since all the IF positions has been eliminated from high schools and most middle schools this is a clear indication that the system can do without them. Mentors for high turnover rate schools is appropriate but even they are not needed in every school. As I said hard choices need to be made.

            Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
    • Concerned Teacher says

      Yes. They are absolutely vital to the health of a school’s teaching faculty. Administrators, even good ones, cannot help teachers get better. Some administrators believe that the way that they taught when they were in the classroom is the best way and anything else is in need of “assistance”. Some administrators get caught up in the little things like objectives and closures and lose sight of the big picture. Good mentors and instructional facilitators are vastly underrated in the success of rookie teachers. In fact, I would not hesitate to state that it is likely that good IFs and mentors are the reason for lowered turnover rates.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
      • also a teacher says

        “Administrators, even good ones, cannot help teachers get better.” I really can’t believe you wrote that. That is part of their job description. If administrators are not up to speed on current methodologies of teaching then maybe it is time for HCPS leadership to encourage their retirement. Mentors can provided the same level of support for rookie teachers as IF’s at considerably less cost. As I said before the cuts are coming and hard choices need to be made. People holding these positions would be returned to the classroom where students and colleagues could benefit from their presence, or maybe they could replace some of those ineffective administrators you mention. That is exactly what happened to some the other IF’s whose positions were eliminated over the past few years.

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        • Former employee... says

          If only HCPS’s would get rid of some poor, highly paid, administrators!!!! Most people have no idea what is going on in some schools and the total incompetence of some administrators. They seem to just be moved to different schools if a problem is actually recognized. Some mentor teachers do absolutely nothing to help teachers. Their hands are tied by administration or they are ineffective. It can be a totally wasted position. There are schools that are a hot mess and nothing is being done.

          Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
          • No longer amazed by stupidity-just going numb says

            “They seem to just be moved to different schools if a problem is actually recognized”….You are so right! I know of a school where the Assistant Principal ‘forgot’ to bring student bridge plans to the Board of Ed for review…theoretically affecting their chances at graduation. Was anything done? Nope. Instead that AP is switching places with another AP (who also had testing issues at their school). Incompetence rewarded with a protective job switcheroo. Hot mess for sure! Can you imagine if a classroom teacher forgot to do something that affected grades? Letter in your file and a plan of assistance baby! And they even had AP testing issues last year that got swept away without letting parents know they wasted their $84. As for how the ‘poor’ teachers get protected? Just make sure to do favors or be buddies with the administration and they get to get away with things others don’t. So just like the private sector, sucking up to to management sometimes gets you perks…not promotions or raises in the case of teachers, but maybe some protection against bad evaluations.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
          • Waiting for Change says

            How about getting rid of IAs and IHs at Aberdeen Middle whose main responsibilities in no particular order seem to be:
            -getting lunch for the principal and her new AP
            -listening to music on computers in the media center
            -being a “Walmart-type” greeter in the lobby. Handing out hugs to every middle school student walking by- isn’t that against some policy?
            - sitting outside the nurse’s office
            -holding up the lockers in the hallway
            *Please note that helping students was not included, because many don’t go to the classes in which they are assigned!
            Let the cuts start here!

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
        • Waiting for Change says

          Not at AMS, are you? SLO’s what is that? You say the Core Standards starts when?

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  25. Monster says

    Mr. Burbey, if you and your MSTA mouthpieces weren’t so biased towards Obama, O’Malley and the Democratic Party, people would be more accepting of what you have to say. It bothers me that teacher contracts haven’t been upheld, but your rosy statistics show a weakness that most liberals suffer- they don’t understand economics or running a business, and that is what the HCG is. Do your members a favor and stop whining.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 13
    • Socrates says

      My understanding is that the Democratic Party has been more generous to the cause of public education over the past number of years than the Republican Party, and has been more willing to provide funding for public education in general.

      Assuming this is true, who would you expect them to be biased towards? Would you feel more loyal to a company that gave you regular raises, or one that continually cut your salary? If you worked in public education, would you support the party who was more willing to fund your paycheck or less willing?

      Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
    • Ryan Burbey says

      I have no mouthpiece. I think I can speak for myself. MSTA became MSEA several years ago.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
  26. Marta says

    I did read your post Nothing is Ever Enough, I was simply stating that we have made cuts already in that area, something that was unmentioned before. Parent- I would make cuts to IFs and mentor teachers, as veteranteach suggested, also I would make cuts to the excessive amount of “extra positions” that take place in the school that run programs and academies, but do not teach at all. Another idea is to encourage that the IFs and mentors have to teach at least one class, it also provides for more practical professional development of the staff when the ones teaching the staff good strategies, are also teaching themselves. Speaking of professional development, I would cut those days out completely, or at least limit them to save money. I would lessen the observation schedule so it is not the full-length of the period, therefore eliminating one Administrative position in each school. I think you could certainly go back to combining the middle school and high school positions to one secondary education position, you could get rid of the cultural proficiency position (pardon me I forget the title) that job could certainly be rolled into Bill Lawrence’s position, or at least split between Superintendent, Second-in Command, and Executive heads. You could combine the departments of business, tech-ed, and family and consumer science, to one Supervisor, all Performing & Visual Arts into one Supervisor. Which would then in turn mean you only need one department chair for those departments in each high school. Just to name a few.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
    • Parent says

      Interesting suggestions. Regarding professional development days….Does this mean you are advocating for 180 days of pay as opposed to 190?

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5
    • JC says

      Finally someone actually making specific suggestions on how the school system can save money while limiting the impact on students in the classroom. I note that these suggestions didn’t come from the usual posters that complain about waste and too much money given to the school system. Thanks for having something productive to offer. Yours are good ideas.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
      • Marta says

        JC- I am just a teacher trying to do what she loves and not worry about whether or not I am going to make daycare payments this week. Thank you.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1
    • Teacher says

      Marta,

      Some supervisors already have more than one department under them. As of now, Ms. Pitts position has not been replaced and may get folded under the others. As for in the HS, deparment chairs also have several positions under them since the faculty numbers keep decreasing. Dept chairs have FACS, business and tech at some schools. Problem is no one is yelling about the mandates that come down from the Feds and State. Just like the common core that is coming, no real direction from the state, we are just to muddle through as a system but has to be in place by next fall. How many of you would like to have your evaluations and worth be determined by how well a student who is 14-17 years of age do on a test. At to your post of paying me a babysitter fee, no I’m here to educate. The ones I have to babysit have parents who don’t deem education important and are the ones who enable their children all the time. When their kid can’t cope or has low GPA lets go on home teaching. Gee hope they can to that in the workplace.

      Education is in a mess right now and we as a country need to look at the Federal Gov’t. They don’t want your kids to think, they just want people who want entitlements and don’t question anything they do.

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

        I understand Teacher, as I am a high school teacher under the same system as you. But, some sacrifices need to be made and department chairs that only teach half a schedule or music classes that only have 8 kids in them, is not an efficient use of money.

        The babysitter post- as a teacher- I am sure you have seen many times before, it is sarcastic of course.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
        • Socrates says

          I think the small music class you refer to is more than likely Music Theory. This is a tough course to cut because any students going to college for music have to pass entrance exams on this subject, and Music Theory in college is probably the most challenging course for music majors. It’s also the only music class that there is a AP exam for, and the push for students taking AP courses may have something to do with this. I think they “rationalize” having this small class because teachers who teach this class usually also teacher a large ensemble (band, chorus, orchestra) that can have fifty or more students.

          But I hear what you are saying.

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

          Marta,

          I reread the babysitting and other posts you have made, so sorry didn’t get the sarcasm. I just get so mad at people who just think our job is a walk in the park.

          Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  27. No place for our kids says

    Attack Ryan if you wish… I teach and have a tremendous disdain for any union. Ignore all of his facts and understand one thing, Harford County is the ONLY county that has done this to teachers. How can baltimore and Cecil continuously fund education but Harford can’t. Pathetic

    Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3
  28. Stamina says

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

    Poorly-rated. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14
  29. Marta says

    I would advocate that my pay remain the same for this, regardless of professional development days, I was showing you other ways to save money. Much like they are doing this summer by closing down school buildings on Fridays to save electricity and other costs, they could shut down the buildings or earlier for those PD days, or not shut them down at that time, but end the year earlier and have the building close earlier and save money on building costs, in addition to guest speaker costs, materials cost, and whatever else they accrue during PD days.

    I do think it is interesting that you are a “Parent” and you are so concerned with teacher pay. If the majority of teachers are simply asking that their contracts be honored – not raises – just their signed contracts, why are you surprised they are disgruntled? As “No place for our kids” stated, we are the ONLY county that has done this to teachers. I am not about keeping teachers in positions if they are not teaching, or if they are not excellent teachers, because that eats into my paycheck, your taxes, and oh by the way – MY taxes too. But as a parent, aren’t you a little bit concerned that the more and more teachers loose from their pay, the less they will be able to do for your children? I coach one team, and sponsor three clubs, three out of four of those positions are unpaid. I do it because I love my students. I have been teaching for 8 years and I have never had a “summer off” as so many community members like to claim. I have 2 children, and three jobs just so I can live in the county I teach in. But this year, like last year, I had to cut the amount of days I stay after school (unpaid) to help tutor your (the collective “community” your) students who are struggling, help my seniors write college applications (unpaid), and days I sponsor my clubs. Why? To go to job number two and three. When will teachers be treated like professionals? You don’t require a private doctor to come to work to “wait” for a potentinal patient who might show up do you? And certainly not unpaid. But we require that of teachers ever single parent teacher conference night. Whether or not a parent has signed up to meet with us, we must stay after school in case a parent shows up without calling for a conference. And of course this is unpaid. Your suggestion about whether or not we would accept 180 days of pay instead of 190- you are forgetting that we come in a week earlier than students and stay days after (not including PD days) so- we still work our 190, while students have 180.

    I guess I just get so sad at our world when it is okay for every other person working to be able to complain about unfair conditions (CONTRACTS NOT BEING UPHELD) but not teachers. What is with that?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
    • Reader L says

      Well stated, Marta! Both on suggestions for cuts and regarding teacher’s job responsibilities. I also put in many extra hours (technically unpaid) to provide other opportunities for the students in HCPS, and I do it because I care about the students.

      Additionally, I would like to state that most people in other jobs do not go in 1-2 hours earlier than mandated or take home 1-3 hours of work every night (I know every teacher doesn’t do this, but many do.). I have many friends who work only when they are at work – which is only during the hours required by their employers, which is the norm for most blue collar jobs. I’ve been at Central Office and almost every single person walks out of that office at 4:00 on the dot! In all the years I’ve been involved with HCPS and worked during the summer this is true. Also, few people in other jobs walk out of their jobs with bags full of papers to grade, books to read, plans to write etc. In other words, with several hours of work that must be done that evening or weekend. Yes, other professionals do have presentations to prepare, paper work to complete, just not on a daily basis; many walk in and walk out at the exact minute required and don’t even have to look at their email out of work. I also work all summer for and with the county on other committees of which I am paid one fourth of what I make during the school year. I am not complaining, but I don’t understand the attitude of a 5 hr. work day and only 190 days. It’s ridiculous to think that even during my “5 hours” of teaching that during my lunch and planning that I’m not working!! on my next lesson, my next presentation, my next literature unit etc. Almost every night I have “school work” to do to ensure that I am organized for the next day, up-to-date utilizing best practices in my classroom, and attempting to be the best teacher I can be.

      Additionally, I’d like to add that HCPS could cut (in addition to Central Office people) secretarial, custodial, and multiple principals in many buildings. In other districts and states where I taught, they were not as many of the above specified positions as there are in HCPS. If teachers have to work in conditions with larger classes – then others, such as principals or secretaries, should be able to adequately cope. AND I totally concur with the idea that IFs and mentors (I think principals should be there too because they tooooo often forget what it’s like to be in the classroom) should have to teach. Rather than just one class, it should be a school year every 4-5 years! That would certainly make a tremendous impact. Some IFs and principals have not been in the classrooms for over 20 years and have totally lost perspective.

      One other issue that perplexes me in HCPS is the additional special area (physical education, music, etc.) staff in some elementary schools. I thought that when the 2nd phys. ed. teacher was there that they team taught or they both took a class. But, no, the “other” teacher has a few responsibilities, but for the most part has the entire day free… and this is several days a week. Classroom elementary teachers would “die” for even an extra planning time a week!

      Oh, by the way, I know this is Memorial Day weekend and a Sat., but I need to sign off because I have two huge bags of work to do in the next few days before I get back to school on Tues.!

      Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1
  30. Socrates says

    Being the president of HCEA is a full time job. Mr. Burbey is not teaching during the time he holds this position.

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

      If he is not teaching, is he drawing pay from the school? Or is the union paying him exclusively?

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

          A bit of a double dipper. Wow you really do get paid to do nothing.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9
          • Marta says

            Wow- how would you expect he gets paid? A Union member pays dues to have his or her rights protected. He does the best he can to do that. Right now anyway, you have a choice whether or not you want to pay dues.

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

      This comment doesn’t even warrant a reply. But since I had to reply in order to say that, I might as well finish:

      Socrates is not Burbey’s alias.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  31. Common Sense says

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

    Poorly-rated. Thumb up 4 Thumb down 17
  32. spy says

    What I find most interesting about this conversation is the number of people who do not work in the school system, yet judge how it is run. As someone who is a newer teacher for HCPS, but also a citizen of Harford County for over thirty years and a parent who has raised 3 children in the HCPS school system, I have a lot of knowledge coming from many different angles. I became a teacher for many reasons, but mainly because of the issues my own children experienced and I wanted to help children and their families in their education journey. I worked full-time while going to college and raising my family. I have many student loans to pay back and am now working on a Masters degree. Yes, I knew what I was getting into because my husband is also a teacher for HCPS. But I did not think that my contract would not be honored because Harford County does not want to contribute any more money to the HCPS budget. In 15 years, I will be 66 years old and hope to retire, but will the money be there when I retire? Think about it, everytime we do not get a step increase or the budget is not met, it affects my retirement. I only have a certain amount of time to work for the school system and as a requirement of my employment I must get a master’s degree, in addition to keeping my certificate up to date. Again, I state, that while I understoood that I would have to meet these reqirements, I did expect to be paid what is stated in my contract.

    So many of you have made comments in your posts about cutting the fat and not wasting money. Let me assure you, this has been done. Comments about cutting administrative positions and getting rid of mentor teachers tell me that you truly do not understand the life of a teacher. I would not have made it through the last few years with out my mentor teacher, instructional facilitator and assistant principal. Cutting them out of a school will not help it run any better. If anything, my school could use another assistant principal. Ours works extremely hard and is very overwhelmed in a school with many discipline issues and a poplulation of over 800 students.

    In addition to all of this fighting over funding of the school system, what many of you do not understand is that the State of Maryland will be implementing the Common Core Curriculumn. This will be a big change for students, teachers, administrators; all people involved in public education. It requires changes in what teachers must do to keep their jobs, how they teach, and what they teach. Yet somehow, even though this is required by the State, HCPS is supposed to implement all of these things for the betterment of our students without being fully funded. I am ashamed to live in a wealthly county that draws many residents because of our excellent school system, but does not want to fund it.

    I would suggest to those of you who would like to play the blame game and call out Ryan Burbey for doing his job, shame on you. He is not a classroom teacher right now, but who better to represent us than a person who knows what is at stake for our children. I could go on and on about how much of our own money that my husband and I spend for our students, but we do it because we feel it is important. Yes, we work every summer and my husband coaches two sports and is involved in two academic clubs. We are vested in our work and all we are asking is that our contract be honored as we have honored our commitment to our jobs, and our community.

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

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

      Poorly-rated. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 19
    • also a teacher says

      Your emotions are interfering with logic. Your principal, AP, department chair, team leader, and colleagues should have been able to give you the support you needed during your two year probationary period. Cuts are coming and hard choices have to be made. Holding the line on actual classroom teachers positions must be the priority. Teaching students is THE purpose of public education and every study I have read states that the most important factor of that process is the teacher in that classroom. In this time of severe budget constrains IF’s are a luxury we can no longer afford. I want class sizes to remain as small as possible as this leads to more one on one instruction. Eliminate one IF position (being paid a principals salary without any of the responsibility) and keep two or three classroom teachers positions. Mentors do not have to be full time positions. Other school systems use a different model to provide this support at less expense. If county government will not adequately fund the school system then we have no choice to adapt while still trying to meet our core responsibilities to students in the classroom. That means everything else is subject to modification or elimination, including pet programs, staff who are not everyday teachers, and facilities. Like it or not the reality is upon us.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3
  33. Paul Schatz says

    What a bunch of fools we have here. The HCEA president is doing what his people elected him to do. His response to Craig is well thought out and is reasonable. After 31 years in the HCPS and HCEA I have a good perspective of how the system is run and of the absurdity of the budget process. In good times and in bad the schools system employees have been screwed. And they continue to help fund the system by working far more hours than the public has any idea of and by spending their own money on additional supplies etc. The lack of knowledge shown by many of the posters here is pathetic.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 22 Thumb down 6
    • B says

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

      Poorly-rated. Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15
      • Marta says

        Please read previous posts before posting, ‘B’. Your argument has been brought up – and countered.

        Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
        • B says

          Actually Marta, I am free to respond to any comment I choose, in any way that I choose to respond. Please see the entitled attitude section of my comment above.

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

            Of course you are, but by not informing yourself with the previous posts of the debate on both sides takes away any credibility you are trying to achieve.

            Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
          • B says

            Your response below on non performing teachers being let go is not in the same category as whole companies closing or large scale layoffs by companies cutting back that many in the private sector have endured. If you perform up to expectation in your teaching career, your position is safe.

            You complain of people disrespecting teachers, then turn around and do the same thing to a nurse.

            Frankly, I feel that teachers should receive their steps, however, that doesn’t mean that those of your profession who never stop complaining are not giving other teachers a bad rap in the view of the public.

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

            B- clearly you did not read my response at all if you think I disrespected nurses. Read the response fully- do not just skim, and you will find that I never made a claim that their job was easier, merely that teachers should be given the same benefit of doubt.

            Secondly, I am not sure how your first claim makes sense to what I was responding to in my post when another blogger (not you) implied that teachers were not being let go if they were under-performing. Again, I did not make the comparison about whole companies closing in private sectors. This argument after all began as the union representative, Mr. Burbery responding back to David Craig’s accusations. Why is it again you are surprised that teachers are on this particular article commenting back and complaining?

            Which goes back to my original post to you- read everything completely.

            Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
  34. Popeye says

    ……and with that salary, he’ll sure look good, when the destruction comes to fruition, … in the suits HIS members pay…..Schools need PARENTS to do their jobs as well..teach your kids some Morals will you. I’ve never seen so many that do not comprehend the words NO and PLEASE….Enjoy the Summer my Fellow Collegues…may our trenches remain dry during our time in R&R….dominum vobiscum…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3
  35. Seriously! says

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

    Poorly-rated. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 20
    • spy says

      We are talking about funding education or did you not realize this? Of course, there are many other honorable professions that contribute to the fabric of society, but we are talking about funding education! This is a forum for educational funding. Do you understand?!!

      Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5
    • Marta says

      You can look at blogs EVERYWHERE particularly with nurses speaking to the same issues we educators are. The difference is the public perception, teachers from the beginning have been demonized has money hungry and non-existential. Where nurses, have been demonized as other things for sure, but not as “money-hungry” as teachers. The other difference is you, and people like you on this blog – you have more of a problem when teachers complain than other professions. But it is out there everywhere, you just have to notice it all.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2
      • Kharn says

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

        Poorly-rated. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18
        • Marta says

          Oh my goodness Kharn, you have NO IDEA what teaching consists of if you think it is a cake-walk. I work every night and weekends grading papers, chaperoning prom, attending required meetings, doing our 9 hours of additional “duty” that is unpaid, attending parent- teacher conferences, back to school nights (except we are unpaid for it). Oh and breaking up fights, we deal with blood, and vomit, and kids going to the bathroom in their pants, fainting, and special needs students. Not to mentioned, the mental stress of always being worried about how well our students perform on state tests because our evaluations are tied to them. Or the mental stress worrying about our students with eating disorders, personal issues, development difficulties. Or the stress of helping the kid that is bullied, while maintaining an open-mind and respect for the one doing it, and still teaching him/her to the best of your ability. Or having your cell-phone, flash-drive, and purse (all which have happened to me) stolen from your room from your students and not taking it out on them.

          Having a mother in-law for a nurse for 25 years, I know exactly what nursing entails, and I respect what she does every single day. Nurses work extremely hard for what they do. I will say however, she spent one day in my school and said, “I would shoot myself if I had to deal with these kids everyday.” Ironically, she can respect what I do everyday- why can’t you? In bringing up other professions I was not implying that my job is harder than theirs, I was implying that they too complain about unfair work conditions and contracts not being upheld- but they are not vilified by the public, and people like you, because of it. Understandably, my paycheck comes from the public, while theirs does not, but as the public probably does not understand my job, anymore than theirs (the nurse’s job – unless they are a nurse or a teacher) then you would think that teachers would be given the benefit of the doubt about their working conditions, as nurses do.

          Teachers are being let go, and not receiving tenure, and being put on Plans of Assistance frequently now in education (depending on the school of course). The question should not be, “Why are bad teachers still around, but why are administrators still not holding their teachers accountable? Do not pretend to know that teachers are protected by their jobs. However, I understand your misguided perception on this because for years and years mediocrity was accepted, and teachers were not held to the accountability that they should have been. (And in many states this is still true, but NOT in Harford County- so go start a blog in another state). But with laws like NCLB and Race to the Top, and the requirement that all teachers are “Highly Qualified” the creation of SLOs, and Student Performance Index, and Common Core, teachers are being held to their performance. Which, I completely agree and support. It frustrates me, that a teacher can get paid the same I do, when his or her effort, initiative, and success is not excellent. *By “success” I do not mean measured by state tests, because we all know that there are numerous amount of factors that go into that.

          And hey, the next time a tornado hits a school, or a disturb kid comes in with a gun into my classroom, I will remember that you said my job is a “cakewalk,” while I protect my kids from harm. (Which is something that the community rarely understands, we treat every one of our (in my case 138 students, as our own “kids”) I know about their problems at home, or with their friends, they come to me when they are upset and excited, they invite me to their awards ceremonies, and still e-mail me from college thanking me for preparing them. It is a honor to be a part of the extremely POWERFUL, and DIFFICULT job of being a teacher – it is not a “back up job” and it certainly is not a “cakewalk”.

          And as a teacher, I would like to inform you that “cakewalk” is considered “deadwood” – a metaphor that has been overused and therefore no longer serves its purpose (which a metaphor’s purpose is to always enlighten by a means of a new comparison).

          Well-loved. Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3
  36. Seriously! says

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

    Poorly-rated. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 22
    • spy says

      No one is claiming moral superiority; it is sad that you cannot see that. I believe that I stated my case well and I do not feel that I need to continue to talk about this issue with a person who is clearly narrow minded and unable to see what it takes to run a school system and educate children.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4
  37. Seriously! says

    How profound, Sad. What a cerebral contribution to the discussion! You, sir/madam, are a regular genius.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8
  38. Once Union but No More (Tom B.) says

    FYI Teachers! The contract you all love to talk about has nothing to do with Harford County.

    Your school systems unions (5 of them); and the Harford County Board of Education does you contracts without any input from Harford County Government. The Board of Education does not include the county in any negotiations nor has any consideration of County budget possess until very late in the county’s budget process. It is hard to believe but the Board of Education agrees to increases and signs your contracts without talking to the State of Maryland or Harford County to see if the future budgets can accommodate any increases. Once the Board of Education signs your contracts they tell you that your raises are contingent on the Harford County Government full funding the Board of Educations proposed budget. Then the employees of the school system bitch about the tax payers, the county employees and blame the County for not honoring your contracts. The tax payers and the county do not need to honor your contracts it has nothing to do with them. You need to bitch at the board and you unions. The Harford County Board of Education is not a part of Harford County Government. Harford County Government is involved because the state gave them the taxing authority for education and mandated education is funded by them. In most states the School Districts have individual taxing authority. That is why you see up to a 70% tax for education in other places like Pa. The Maryland General Assembly could vote to allow taxing authority for the Board of Education and the counties would be completely out of the loop. Would we really want that? How many of the Bankrupted school systems around the country have taxing authority? My guess is most if not all of them.

    This is where I need to give President Burbey of the Harford County Education Association a lot of credit. Back in my union days I would have voted for President Burbey and I would have stood behind him because the man is doing his job. The current HCEA members should do the same. He is fighting for his schools, his teachers, and his students. He could be fighting just for the teachers’ pay. My steelworkers union only cared about the pay we got at the mill. They gave up our pensions for more pay once. Now the mill is gone, no one has jobs and most of us lost our pensions. I blame our unions for allowing that to take place and the greedy no spine no good leaders of my shop. After 32 years of hard union work I have nothing to show for it. I will never work a union job again. I will also support any person running for office that will make Maryland a right to work state and put an end to the union greed in this state.

    As for school funding I cannot tell you if it is the County Councils fault, David Crags fault, the State, or the Board of Education’s fault. I will say this; right now the Harford County Council is reviewing the budget and getting ready to vote on it. If the Harford County Public School and schools employees are in that much need of extra funding and pay increases why is President Burbey the only union leader advocating for it? The Board of Education negotiates with five (5) bargaining units that represent all employees within the Harford County Public School system.
    - President Burbeys shop the Harford County Education Association (HCEA) is the exclusive public school employee organization for all teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, media specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and hearing clinicians. HCEA represents approximately 3200 employees of Harford County Public Schools.
    - The Harford County Educational Services Council (HCESC) is the exclusive public school employee organization for all clerical/secretaries, paraeducators, nurses, team nurses, instructionally-related technicians, buyers, school bus driver instructors, transportation specialists, transliterators, sign language interpreters, Braille technicians, inclusion helpers, and related instructional support personnel who work twenty (20) or more hours per week. HCESC represents approximately 1100 employees of Harford County Public Schools.
    - The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is the exclusive public school employee organization for all school custodians, facilities and maintenance trades workers, bus drivers, bus attendants, school cafeteria workers and other non-instructional support related employees. AFSCME represents approximately 900 employees of Harford County Public Schools.
    - The Association of Harford County Administrative, Technical and Supervisory Professionals (AHCATSP)is the exclusive public school employee organization for all non-certified supervisors. This includes department managers, supervisors, computer programmers and analysts, coordinators and other related non-certificated supervisory personnel. AHCATSP represents approximately 80 employees of Harford County Public Schools.
    - The Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors of Harford County (APSASHC) is the exclusive public school employee organization for the certificated administrators and supervisors. This includes principals, curriculum supervisors, instructional coordinators, assistant principals, instructional facilitators, pupil personnel workers and other related certificated supervisory personnel. APSASHC represents approximately 300 employees of Harford County Public Schools.

    If you remove President Burbey and the 1 School board member then subtract the 20 teachers that testified about needing more funding; that tells me the other 5558 Harford County Public School system employees and the other members of the Harford County Board of Education feel they are properly funded and the county has it right. Or the other 4 unions are doing a much better job getting fair pay for their members and HCEA has failed.

    My questions are: Excluding HCEA members what are the members of the other 4 bargaining units getting out of their dues? Do they have a local rep or a President to advocate for them? Or are they just doing a better job than the HCEA and President Burby? Does the other board members and the 4 other bargaining units feel President Burbey is wrong with his request for higher pay? If so why don’t the other 4 bargaining units at least advocate for building replacements or other need things? Does the system really need any more funding other than what is needed for new schools? If it is really this bad why is no one striking or doing sickouts?

    I have a hard time believing the Harford County Public School System is in such dire need of additional funding when the Superintendent of Harford County Schools whom also serves as the Treasurer on the Board of education does not come out to advocate for additional funding. The board members including the newly elected members and the board president whom all need to run for reelection in 2014 are not out making this a public issue advocating for additional funding. The only people I have hear advocating for additional school funding is a couple of the County Council members, parents from Belair and Fallstown, and President Burbey with only 20 teachers out of almost 5600 Harford County Public Schools employees. That tells to me the system does NOT need any more money and the Council should NOT vote to add any money to the Schools budget. I will be calling my council rep Council Member Jim next week about voting NO on this.

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

      The other 4 groups have a ‘Me Too’ clause. Try get for their members whatever HECA can negotiate. And not have to stich their necks out…

      Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  39. Sad says

    ^ I just call them as I see them… You know nothing about my intelligence or anything else about me for that matter. What I know however, is that I have taught over 1500 students and 99% of their parents and the kids loved me as a teacher and as someone who always goes the extra mile for their kids as people outside of the classroom. Those of you crushing teachers all of the time are sad and sick individuals. No one is asking to be a millionaire, but when every single county in Maryland makes education a priority and pay the salaries as they were promised you as a harford resident should be embarrassed that we are the 1 county who doesn’t.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
  40. HCPS Mom and Teacher says

    I never comment on this site, but I just can’t stand reading all the comments bashing teachers. I really wish that people would stop lumping all teachers into one category. I am a veteran teacher for Harford County Public Schools and have taught for the last 17 years. I was born and raised in Harford County, went out of state for college, and returned to teach in Harford County. I used to belong to the union. However, I stopped my membership 5 years ago when I got tired of election after election, the HCEA and the MSDE supporting the deadbeats in congress and ones who lied about education for their political gain. Each and every year they jump on the liberal bandwagon. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a conservative, I have voted for democrats a few times when and only when I, as a productive member of society, have done my homework. I DO NOT SUPPORT DAVID CRAIG nor will I when he runs for governor. I know that times are tough. My husband and I would love to own a larger house but we live within our means. Is there extra? Not really, but we manage. I could work in the summer if I wanted to. I choose not to. After all, I live within my means. My husband manages to pull out money all year from my paycheck so that I technically get paid in the summer. We manage the best we can. I know that people are suffering all over with job loss and other things. Do I wish I could get a raise and even my steps? Sure I do. However, I don’t want this at the cost of losing valuable staff members, and increasing my already large class size. I will gladly wait out this economic slump as a Harford County Teacher if the Board of Education would do the following for me.
    • Please tell the parents that I am done raising their kids. Get off their dead lazy butts and show their kids that education is important and that school is not a democracy. Please tell them that they will be treated like every other student in the school. My job is to educate. Their job is to raise them.
    •Stop making me do my morning movements and exercises with the students because society is too fat. Please make the parents responsible for their kid’s nutrition and food choices. That 15 minutes in the morning can be used to do educational things.
    •Please allow the Instructional Facilitator in my school to stop sitting at her desk creating more things for me to do and teach a class or 2. Please also allow her to take all of my math tests that I have to sit at a computer and put scores into Performance Matters for every student for every single test question. This takes me a few hours to do for each math test. And by the way, I do this at home on my own time.
    •Please stop wasting my time at professional development days just so you can justify the jobs of the overpaid supervisors.
    •Why am I off on Jewish holidays in September? In my 17 years I have taught at 2 route 40 schools and I am now in northern Harford County and I have never had a Jewish student. Schools should be open on those days for all students. If the few Jewish students need off then by all means give them the pass to stay home. I used to email this to the calendar committee every year but I am ignored so I stopped. The Friday in October for Teacher Convention needs to be a school based professional development day. If you choose to go to the convention then bring back proof and use your own personal days. Otherwise, open the schools for teachers and students.
    •Please get rid of the Everyday Math program and use a program that works. By all means, stop all these consumable books and buy hardback text books at least for the upper grades. Please allow me to teach the new Common Core Standards the way I feel I need to and not the way the IF or the supervisor thinks I should.
    •Please allow me to use the laminator at my school. I have 2 bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree but I am not allowed to touch the laminator.
    •Let me teach grammar and spelling please. Not in context like we are told to do because someone jumped on some bandwagon. I want to really teach spelling and grammar the way I know my students need to be taught and not by what some IF who hasn’t been in a classroom for the past 20 years wants me to do.
    •Please discipline students and do not ask me to change a report card grade because little Johnny’s mom doesn’t like the fact his grade went down because he never bothers to study.
    •Please know that if my evaluation will now be based on performance then by all means allow me to perform. DO NOT LINK MY EVALUATION TO MY STUDENT’S SUCCESS THEN TELL ME HOW TO DO MY JOB.
    I can think of many more examples and can go on and on but I am just preaching to the choir. I am a teacher who went to college because I wanted to educate children. LET ME DO MY JOB!!!!!

    Well-loved. Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3
      • HCPS Mom and Teacher says

        @ Jack….I do not need to seek out another teaching job someplace else. I am quite happy where I am thank you. I am not complaining about things that will never change. Each and every one of my points can be changed.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
        • Mike Welsh says

          You’re just not proficient enough to use the laminator, and that’s not going to change!

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12
  41. John P. Mallamo says

    Observations on the 2014 campaign by Mr. Burbey and his collaborators to increase teacher compensation.
    First, an introduction of the known participants in this campaign. Let’s call them Victims, Vllains, and Others.

    Victims
    Mr. Burbey. Once a teacher, now President of HCEA. May have aspirations for elected or appointed office. Seeks to influence County fiscal management, and perhaps election results. Uses inflammatory statements to further his agenda. Admitted single issue advocate.

    Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss/ Socrates. Person or persons using Socratic method and benign, non confrontational language to support the campaign, elicit responses from posters opposed to the goal of increasing teacher compensation. Supports increasing taxes. Favors democrats for their support to education. The Good Cop to the Good Cop-Bad Cop strategy.

    Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss O. Person or persons who Interjects contrary thoughts to posters opposed to the campaign to increase teache compensation. Somewhat aggressive, seeks to make arguments personal.

    Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Marta. Person or persons presenting an image of a teacher. Emphasizes the difficulty of being a teacher and the perceived lack of recognitions/rewards of the profession in postings.

    Mr./Mrs./Ms/Miss Spy. Person or persons copying the approach of Marta.

    Villains
    County Executive David Craig. Easy villain. Everybody has some reason to dislike him. Faced with the task of running the County in an unpredictable environment.

    County Council. Not specifically identified in this thread, because they have not yet voted on the budget. Collectively easy to dislike for the same reasons people dislike the County Executive. Watch closely the statements and actions of individual Council members on the budget vote and then determine what their ultimate objectives might be.

    Taxpayers of Harford County. Underlying resentment towards this group because they (taxpayers) do not support increasing taxes to provide more money to teacher compensation.

    Others.

    Board of Education and HCPS administration. Not particularly well liked by anybody. Not currently in the villain group because they asked for a $22M increase in school funding, which is a contributing factor to this campaign. It is difficult to believe that this was a sincere request, particularly from those who have a business background. $22M is a lot of money to find in a single year.

    State Government. Provides mandates for education. Contributes funding for schools and school construction. Reduced its contributions to the 2014 Harford County educatoin budget, and in previous years. Creates a budgeting dilemma. Not currently a villain because they are not close enough to experience the displeasure of those dissatisfied with their reduced funding. Interesting to note that the State is responsible for distributing Income Tax revenue to the Counties. Harford County Income Tax revenue has increased absent any discernable evidence to support that increase. Home sales are reduced, therefore transfer taxes and recordation fees are likewise reduced, which means not much growth. Additionally, if County Income Tax revenues increase, so too do State revenues. Why then has the State decremented its contribution to Harford County?

    Students in HCPS. Collateral damage.

    Others not identified may align themselves as they desire.

    Campaign Objective
    Secure more money for teachers.
    Increase taxes.
    Support and elect candidates more favorable to teacher compensation.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 11
    • Ryan Burbey says

      Mr. Mallamo,
      Weren’t you the one who said I should not presume to know other’s intentions? I am not advocating for increased taxes. HCEA will support candidates of any party who view education as a priority. I do not view the tax payers as villains. I have no underlying resentment towards tax payers. I am one. I also have no resentment towards either the county council, county executive, school board or any other elected official. I just do not agree with some of the choices which have been made. I hope to foster a greater cooperation within Harford County, so that we may better support our public schools and make education a greater priority.

      Ryan

      Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
      • John P. Mallamo says

        Mr. Burbey,
        Sir
        Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Marta
        Sir,Ma’am
        Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates
        Sir, Ma’am

        Single response to each of your replies.

        2 of 3 do not want taxes to be raised. Seems like 3 of 3 want teacher compensation raised. How is that going to happen? Who gets less?
        All three are now trying to clarify some previous postings and impressions.
        Seems like an opportunity for some reasonable dialogue.

        John P. Mallamo

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

      This was clever – and I mean that sincerely. Who are you in this ? Just to clear something up – I am one person, and I am not presenting the image of a teacher who believes she deserves rewards; I am the teacher who, like countless others, who are disgruntled that contracts are not being upheld. I also am the teacher who, like countless other teachers, have brought up probably solutions to solve some of the budgetary issues – including teaching staff making hard choices.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
      • Marta says

        I am getting tired clearly! *delete the “who” after countless others, and “probable” instead of “probably”

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
    • Boh-boh the dog says

      Anyone that doesn’t see the disproportionate allocation of tax dollars AT THE STATE LEVEL as a major contributor to the issue is delusional. To say that they are too far removed to take any (dis)credit is a head shaker. Mike Miller & Co. have a tight lock on taking care of “their own” and those outside the areas that make up that large voting block are delivered a steaming pile of seconds every April. This certainly doesn’t excuse any local posturing.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
    • Socrates says

      John M. Mallamo:

      I am using the Socratic method. I first learned about Socrates and this method from my 7th grade Social Studies teacher; he used it on me to extract the truth as to why I didn’t do my homework. As it turned out, I didn’t really forget about the homework; I was just being lazy! Socrates has been something of a hero to me ever since, which is why I chose his name to be my screen name. I like to use this method because I am sincerely interested in finding out why people think what they do.

      I do try to use benign, non-confrontational language here. I try to speak to and treat others on this forum the same way I would if they were sitting across from me. It can be difficult to communicate clearly through writing because the reader doesn’t have the benefit of hearing the tone of voice you’re using, whether or not you are joking, if you are being sarcastic, etc. So yes, I try to write as clearly as I can. My success rate is certainly not 100%, but I do give it my best effort.

      As for your claim that my questions have only been asked of those opposed to teacher pay increases. Yes, that is probably true; but if you read my posts, my questions or statements weren’t typically on this subject. I asked one person why he wasn’t a teacher because his posts seemed to indicate an unusual degree of concern regarding the state of education; he answered me, and that was the end of it. I also made a comment about how percentages can change. Another person commented on teachers union support of the Democratic Party, which I pointed out is probably understandable since the Democrats have been historically more monetarily supportive of public education. There was one person who claimed that some people wouldn’t be happy until 100% of the budget went to schools; I asked this person if that was true. Later in the dialogue he said he was speaking from emotion, and I acknowledged that this was understandable due to the emotional nature of the subject. Rest assured, if a person on here claimed that 100% of the county budget should go to education, I would be just as interested in this viewpoint and would undoubtedly ask several questions regarding this idea.

      I do not support raising taxes, especially at a time when the economy has not fully recovered and is just beginning to do so. A tax raise would have considerable financial repercussions for me due to business interests I hold in Harford County. Even a small increase of 1% or even 1/2% would represent substantial costs when I am just beginning to see the light of day after several years. I’ve no doubt there are people who would be just as or even more negatively effected than I would be. I’m not sure why you thought I would support a tax increase; I made no statement that I would, nor did I voice dissent to anyone opposed to one.

      Again, I did state that teachers unions could be expected to support the Democratic Party due to the greater monetary support they tend to give public education versus the Republican Party. But I made no statement as to whether I thought this was right or wrong. For the record, I am not a Democrat.

      I am not working in collaboration with Ryan Burbey or anyone else for that matter. I’m not sure what kind of “work” you think I might be doing with or for him, but even if I was I doubt that posting to the thread of an online newspaper would be part of it. This is a wonderful way to have dialogue, but I hardly think that what I have to say on this forum will sway public opinion or influence the decisions of elected officials.

      I appreciate you considering me the “good cop” in the “good cop-bad cop” strategy; I’m not sure who the “bad cop” would be but I’m guessing that you mean Ryan Burbey. If that’s the case, let it be known that I have only met Mr. Burbey on one occasion, said no more than “hello, nice to meet you” and was on my way. Other than that I’ve never spoken to him or communicated with him in any way.

      Way back at the beginning of this thread, I made a comment to the effect that “taxpayers don’t like tax increases”. You seemed to take exception to what you perceived as my presumption to know what taxpayers want. But I daresay that you presumed to know a considerable amount about me.

      By the way, I stand by my original statement. I do believe it to be true that taxpayers tend to frown upon tax increases. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would be very interested in seeing it.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  42. Socrates says

    Something to think about:

    A guy goes to a doctor because he has a stomach ache. The doctor says “take these pills and you’ll feel better”. The guy goes home, forgets to take the pills, still has the stomach ache the next day, and goes back to the doctor. He says “Doc, I still have that stomach ache.” The doctor asks “did you take the pills?” The guy says “No”. The doctor says “You have to take the pills. If you take them you’ll get better”. The guy goes home, again forgets to take the pills and the next day still has the stomach ache. So back to the doctor he goes. “Doc, that stomach ache is still hanging around”, he says. “Did you take the pills?” the doctor asks. “No” says the guy. “You HAVE to take the pills!” the doctor says. “You’re not going to better if you don’t take them!” So the guy goes home and what does he do? He forgets to take the pills. The next day he goes back to the doctors office and says “Doc, this stomach thing is worse than ever!” Doc says “did you take the pills yet?” The guy says “Not yet”. The doctor tells the guy he will not see him again until he has finished the entire prescription.

    What’s the matter with this guy? He’s been to the doctor three times and he still won’t listen to what the doctor says! Doesn’t he know he’s got to take the pills to get better? What an idiot!

    Now a kid is in math class and the teacher teaches a lesson on multiplication. The teacher tells him “Do this homework. If you do it you’ll learn how to multiply.” The kid goes home and leaves his homework in school. The next day the teacher gives a quiz; the kid bombs it. She asks the kid “did you do your homework?” The kid says “I forgot it to take it home”. She re-teachers the lesson and says “now take this homework home and do it tonight; it will help you learn to multiply”. So the kid takes it home, spends the evening playing video games, and doesn’t do his homework. The next day she gives a retest; the kid bombs that too. “Can I see your homework?” she asks. “I didn’t do it” says the kid. She teachers the lesson yet again and says “Take the homework home and make sure you do it”. So the kid takes the homework home, puts the TV on, and falls asleep watching TV having not done his homework. The next day the kid fails another retest; he tells the teacher that he fell asleep before he got his homework done. The teacher tells the kid that she’s not going to give him any more retests until he finishes his homework.

    What’s the matter with this teacher? She taught the same lesson three times and the kid is still failing! Doesn’t she know how to teach? And then she refuses to help the kid? What a lousy teacher!

    Well-loved. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2
    • ALEX R says

      Socrates,

      HCPS tells the taxpayers that they have a lot of issues in the form of planned spending exceeding income. The taxpayers tell HCPS to cut overhead and make their operations more efficient. HCPS doesn’t do that and goes back to the taxpayers the next year with the same complaint. HCPS still doesn’t cut overhead and administration is even more bloated. Tax payers ask “Did you do what we told you?” HCPS replies “No. But we need a lot more money”.

      Socrates, I think you get the picture.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
      • Don't Make Assumptions says

        Alex,
        You have made several assumptions which appear to be based on your opinion instead of evidence. One is that “the taxpayers told HCPS to cut overhead and make their operations more efficient”. Did you mean all of the taxpayers, a majority, David Craig or just you told HCPS to cut overhead and make their operations more efficient? Another is that “HCPS did not cut overhead and make themselves more efficient”. How do you know if they did or didn’t? Just because they requested more money does not mean they did not make cuts or find efficiencies. Couldn’t the cost of doing business to just maintain their current operations have gone up? It appears you are letting your emotions get in the way of the facts.

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
      • Jaguar Judy says

        Alex, You know darn well ‘it’s for the children’so all of the efficiency stuff is just mean-spirited. And when will t he teachers wake up top the fact that there is plenty of money but it is being spent on overhead rather than teacher salaries? And when will Burbey stop defending the waste so that his constituents get a fair wage? Well, I guess now that all teachers have to support HCEA financially he cares even less.

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4
  43. John P. Mallamo says

    One Qucik comment. To anyone not familiar with how the dagger scoring system works. The thread is initiated by whomever. Whomever’s supporters give a thumbs up to whoever supports the position. Whomever’s supporters give a thumbs down to whoever opposes the position. I keep hoping that there might be a ice cream sudae awarded to whoever captures the best or worst score of the day.

    Now to the topic at hand. First posting identified participants, and objectives of the campaign. Important to address the strategy at this point.

    Strategy. Villify the County Executive and hope that the Council will be sufficiently swayed to provide more funding towards education. Also helps to set up next years campaign for increased funding and the upcoming elections. Might work. Two quick points on that. Sun Tzu is not a novel. Strategies and tactics must have a larger view to succed. Radical Chic, Tom Wolfe, is. Read it and understand it and its implication before using tactics describe in it.

    The numbers cited on the budget discussion do not fully explain what is happening. True, General Fund revenues appear to have risen. The more important piece is where did the increase occur. In order to be able to accrue more funds for education, there cannot be any decrement in any of the other revenue sources, nor any increase in revenue allocations. As a quick note, look closely at the budget. For 2005, $10M in revenue from fund balance. Now look at the 2014 budget, $18.9M in revenue from fund balance. An 89% increase in use of one time money. So, fund balances are used to support education. Particularly the fund balance from those accounts that are dedicated to education expenditures on the Capital budget side. So where are the decrements and the increases? Debt service is one area that rose from $21M in 2005 to $49M in 2014. Is that all for schools? No, certainly not, but the debt service for schools is in it. Decrements come from reduced State contributions. I am not going to go through multiple budgets to find out how large those are. One that I do know of is the $16M reduction to highway maintenance. Another is shifting the States pension obligation to the County.

    At this point I would like to introduce another reference. It is the Overview of Maryland Local Governments, 2013 edition, published by the Legislative Services Division of the State legislature. I would refer all to page 73 of the document to see what is happening to the assessable base. It may seem odd that the assessable base rose as assessed values dropped. That is the Homestead Tax Credit inversion. Simply put, if your house is assessed at $250K, and because of the Homestead Tax Credit you are paying taxes on only $150K of that assessment, and your house is then assessed at $200K, you will then pay taxes on the $200K until the next triennial review. No more Homestead Tax Credit. Looking at the out years on the page, it does not appear that there will be any wind fall in the property tax revenue. My calculations are that it will be at least seven years until property tax revenues come back to something that looks more normal.
    Additionally, rising property values in today’s economic environment are certainly no indication of the ability to pay more. When the state increases its assessment of a property, it does not add to the property owners ability to pay. In effect the property may become more of a liability than an asset. While it may increase the County’s wealth, the property owner may not be feeling wealthier, and in fact may decide to leave the County and the State. Happens routinely, particularly in the business community.

    Taxable income on page 81 of the document is quite different. Inexplicably there is an increase in taxable income. Whether that increasing trend will be maintained is not predictable. With the single largest employer in the County using furloughs to balance its budget, Income Tax Revenues will be affected. The effect will be felt throughout all other companies that support the DoD.

    Quick message to this is that tax revenues may not increase for the foreseeable future.
    Finally to blaming the State for reducing its contributions. Somehow the reduction must be covered if the same level of service is provided. To see how this works look at the $4M reduction to Harford County’s education budget. There are three options, with some perturbations. The Board of Education can cover the shortage from either a fund balance or by reducing some other line in their budget. The County can cover the shortage from fund balance or by reducing some other line in its budget. Or the shortage is not absorbed by either the County or the Board of Education and some services are not provided. If County covers the shortage, then it increases its contribution to the Board of Education, but those funds cannot be used simultaneously to increase teacher compensation. If the Board of Education covers the shortage, then neither can those funds be used to increase teacher compensation. The only case where either the Board or the County can fund an increase to teacher compensation is to ignore the decremented contribution from the State. This is only a single case. As the State reduces its contribution in other areas, the same scenario plays out. Single biggest difference in those other areas is that they do not normally have fund balances large enough to offset the decrement.

    The point here is that the Board of Education, HCPS, HCEA and all teachers must badger the Governor and State Legislature, and all other agencies that determine how money is distributed to increase their funding, but at the very minimum, maintain their current level of funding. The formula used to distribute education dollars is severely flawed. It does not account for any other funding reductions or obligations shifted from the state to the County. The expectation is that somehow the County will manage with an ever shifting contribution from the state. Could you manage your household or business budget without certainty or consistency?

    As for a 60% increase in wealth, that does not seem to be the case. Using the MSDE site as reference, and then only that portion of the documents that shows wealth per pupil there is an apparent 60% increase in wealth from the numbers available. That, however is misleading, and the calculations used to determine wealth per student are not clear. Using the same reference, and that portion that shows local wealth the answer is much different. Only about a 40% increase in wealth. Using Maintenance of Effort for the same period it appears that the County contribution to the education budget has increased equivalently. Using Local funding the percentage is clearly less because of the larger County contribution to education.

    Overall, I would have to state that the complaint against the County Executive is tainted by the flaws in the analysis.

    John P. Mallamo

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  44. Realistic Teacher says

    Teachers will never get a raise when folks like Burbey ask for $20 million. If the county approves the money than $20 million will have to be provided each year. (I think my facts are right). I’m a teacher and know there are so many high paid positions that need to be cut. For example – what the hell does an instructional facilitator really do and why do they get paid principal salary? If you find out, please tell me (and I don’t want the “job description.” Also, as long as the schools have materials and the schools are performing well (overall), nobody cares about the teachers. I say pay teachers the steps stated in the contracts at the expense of new materials and technology. When the parents start complaining in force – watch how fast things get done. The HCEA hasn’t done anything ever! I don’t belong because it is a tone of money for me and many other teachers to watch an idiot make himself look smart by spitting out facts. There are ways to support teachers, but the “big-wig” positions need to be trimmed (at least as a start). I’m not asking for a raise or to be rich, but there are ways to grant the step increases. As it looks right now, the massive 1% is not even coming (I say keep that anyway), health care going up, MD taxes becoming exponential, and now the fair-share law makes me have to involuntarily support the HCEA. What a mess. I do love my job, and will keep at it. Like I said, never expected to be rich, but should be able to live off the salary at least. Bottom line – I blame the school board more than anyone for the mess.

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    • also a teacher says

      I’m not defending the BOE but how is this their fault? The County Executive and County Council are the ones that determine the BOE budget. Other than support for pet magnet programs they wanted for schools in their district or new schools (a new HdG HS for Mr. Craig) in their area I don’t see how the CE or CC have stepped up to meet the needs of the school system. Not all of the 20 million is for salaries. Most of the increased request is to keep the up with the cost of doing business and the CE and CC won’t even support that.

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      • spy says

        I agree with you; most of the increase is to keep up with the cost of doing business. For the most part, teachers want to get their step increases and have their contract honored. As a county, we need to meet the needs of the people in our community. Education is an important reason why many people live in Harford County. Let’s keep up with what is happening in our state and fund our educational system. I have a feeling that this will not change until , as Realistic Teacher stated, parents complain about what their children are getting or not getting in terms of technology, materials, ect. then it will change. For now, we need to meet the needs of the state mandates coming our way. It will cost a lot of money for HCPS to get ready for what is coming and what is expected by the state.

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        • John P. Mallamo says

          Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Spy
          Sir, Ma’am

          Reviewing your comment and the Board of Education budget you are, for the most part correct, only because employee compensation is part of the cost of doing business. This is true regardless of whether it is private or public business.

          Restating the numbers in the budget, just to make sure that there is no mistaking what they are here is the breakdown:

          $6.3M employee salary increase
          $6.6M employee benefits increase
          $2.1M cost of doing business (not further defined)
          $6.1 revenue decrease
          $1.5 increased contribution to teacher pension

          So, as employee compensation is a cost of doing business you are correct.

          John P. Mallamo

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    • Socrates says

      “The HCEA hasn’t done anything ever! I don’t belong because it is a tone(sic) of money for me and many other teachers”

      I seem to recall that last year the county exec/council/BOE had no intention of giving the teachers a raise. After HCEA and its members energetically lobbied for quite a long period of time, they were able to secure a 1% pay increase. Do you consider their efforts to be nothing? Do you think you would have received a raise without the efforts of these people?

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      • John P. Mallamo says

        Mr./Mrs/Ms./Miss Scorates
        Sir, Ma’am

        Before I forget, thank you for your service in the Army to our country.

        I believe that you are wrong in how the raise came about.

        Check the record and see whether one of the Board members clearly stated that the Board would have to do something for the teachers, regardless of the actions by the County Executive or County Council. It was not the acts of the HCEA that percipitated the raise.

        John P. Mallamo

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        • Socrates says

          John P. Mallamo:

          Once again, I stand corrected. One board member did make that statement. I guess what I didn’t realize was that once a board member makes a statement like that, the others have to vote in favor.

          I thought I saw HCEA at a lot of county meetings last year and that they were lobbying for a raise. I also thought I saw several groups of teachers protesting outside of schools, and I thought the HCEA was the organizing force behind it. I wonder why they would do that if they already knew a raise was coming? Maybe to create the impression for the members that they are really doing something and they could take credit for earning something they knew was already given?

          Come to think of it, I thought that HCEA and the board were at impasse, and when the case went to an arbitrator they found that the Board of Ed already signed the funding agreement BEFORE they came to a final agreement with HCEA, which is a violation of the contract. It’s all coming back to me know…I remember what the judge in the arbitration hearing said. He told the Board that he would make his ruling in 30 days, and they would be wise to resolve the issue before that time, because they definitely would not like how he resolves it. Shame. The board of ed makes one honest mistake, and there is HCEA, wasting all kinds of time, energy and resources. If they just trusted that one board member, none of this would ever happen.

          Just out of curiousity though…if HCEA is such a passive, ineffective, inert organization, why do so many people get angry at their demands? How does anyone even KNOW their demands if they aren’t actively lobbying? Why do so many people on this thread spend so much time and energy making disparaging remarks about an organization that everyone knows is as docile as a girl scout troop?

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates
            Sir, Ma’am

            Perhaps you would be kind enough to check the chronology of events you are discussin, determine whether they might be out of sequence? Whether they might have been in different years?

            John P. Malllamo

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates
            Sir, Ma’am
            No answer yet on checking the chronology of events under discussion so Let me provide my chronology.

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Also A Teacher
            Sir ma’am
            The part about who is responsible for the Board of Education budget is for you.

            Rewinding the calendar to the base year, check the year for yourself, the Board of Education proposed a 2% compensation reduction for all personnel. Call that the Christmas surprise since the budget was released just prior to Christmas. That was the same year that County employees got a 2 week furlough.

            The County Executive put the funding to maintain salaries for HCPS employees in his budget. Very generous for a man so vilified, I would say. The County Council approved that budget, and HCPS employees did not take a reduction in compensation. County employees still got the two week furlough.

            The next year, the Board of Education asked for more money in their budget to give HCPS employees a raise. Raise contingent upon funding from County Executive in his budget as approved by the County Council. That contingent raise was in the negotiated contract between HCPS and HCEA. The County Executive did not include funding for the raise in his budget, nor did the County Council amend the budget it to fund the raise.

            Now here is the part that gets interesting. The Board of Education amended its budget to reflect no funding for a raise, signed it and thought they were done, as they may have interpreted from the prior year that the County Executive and County Council had greater responsibility for the HCPS budget.

            Predictably, HCEA filed a labor complaint with the Public School Labor Relations Board PLRB) for contract violation. This part is a bit murky but generally this seems to be what happened. The PLRB issued some rulings, which HCPS took to court to invalidate, on the grounds that PLRB did not have had jurisdiction. Court seemed to side with PLRB. This part is very clear, and everybody interested should read the PLRB ruling for themselves, and fully understand it. HCEA sought to get PLRB to rule on a number of issues including use of fund balance for employee compensation, contract violation, and declare an impasse in negotiations, and some others.
            This is the piece that gets quite interesting, and is generally misinterpreted by everyone. PLRB ruled in favor for HCEA only on the contract violation issue. Finding that the contract required HCPS to renegotiate if the County Executive and/or County Council did not fund the pay raise. All other complaints were dismissed. In the ruling itself the PLRB stated clearly that the bargaining units were the HCPS and HCEA, a rebuke to the County Council and the County Executive for having interfered in the previous year. By all measures the PLRB ruling was most favorable to the HCPS and the Board of Education, as it restored their authority for the budget. PLRB did not determine that there was an impasse, and directed both HCEA and HCPS to return to negotiations.

            The next year, the Board of Education again developed a budget for employee compensation increases. One of the Board members did state that the Board would have to do something for employees, regardless of what the County Executive and/or County Council did. County Executive did not include funding for the raise in his budget, nor did the County Council amend the budget for increases. The Board of Education reconstructed its budget to provide a 1% raise to employees.
            Which brings us to this year. Wait and see what happens.

            John P. Mallamo

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            Mr. Mallamo,
            Your timeline and associated interpretation of the rulings are quite flawed. They do not include the countless hours of negotiations, as well as, the rebuke of the BoE in the PSLRB ruling nor do they incorporate the weeks of protest. Similarly, the PSLRB ruling was in no way favorable to the BoE. HCEA compromised both for the sake of our teachers having a contract in place and in recognition of the lack of available funds. The reconstruction of the budget was the direct result on on-going action and the still outstanding PSLRB case. We will need to wait and see what happens. However, it is clear that without additional funds both for its employees and for all other operations, HCPS will be required to make substantial cuts.

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          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr. Burbey
            Sir,

            You should take a larger view of your surroundings. Get a ground truth check with others, outside your immediate circle, for calibration. Doing otherwise may not be of great benefit to the people you seek to represent.

            Read very carefully what you have just submitted, and determine how others may interpret it.

            John P. Mallamo

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          • Socrates says

            John P. Mallamo:

            I didn’t look up the chronology because I had a strong feeling that you would. Might be the first thing I’ve been right about all week!

            And thank-you for clarifying who is responsible for the Board of Education budget, and for providing chronology for me. An confusion I may have had regarding either has now been resolved.

            I stated that the PLRB found “the Board of Ed already signed the funding agreement BEFORE they came to a final agreement with HCEA, which is a violation of the contract”. You stated that the PLRB “Finding that the contract required HCPS to renegotiate if the County Executive and/or County Council did not fund the pay raise.” I think that’s the same thing, isn’t it? I mean, I read what you wrote and my first reaction was, “yeah, that’s what I said”. Of course, you might have a better idea of what I meant than I do.

            You said:
            “I believe that you are wrong in how the raise came about. Check the record and see whether one of the Board members clearly stated that the Board would have to do something for the teachers, regardless of the actions by the County Executive or County Council. It was not the acts of the HCEA that precipitated (sic) the raise.”

            One of the board members said they would have to do something for the teachers, and that was that; the teachers got a raise. No need for HCEA, no need for teacher protests like we saw last year (I think it was last year; of course, I haven’t checked the chronology and may be thinking of some other year). If the teachers had just listened to this one board member and understood that when one board member says they want something, the others make sure it happens. They could have spent their time and energy focusing on their students like they’re supposed to, rather than worrying about their own needs.

            So why do we have to wait to find out what happens? Just the other night Board of Ed member Nancy Reynolds said “It is necessary and important that we can provide for our employees a competitive wage package in order to attract and retain the best educators and staff for the children of Harford County.” Now, “competitive” might mean something different to me than it does to you, and I don’t want to be accused of knowing what someone else thinks, but I think it is safe to guess that by “competitive” she probably didn’t mean “less” than surrounding counties. And I haven’t called her and asked her, but I think it would be safe to say that at the very least, she probably meant “at least as much” as surrounding counties. So considering that Harford County teachers are paid less than teachers in surrounding counties, either would indicate a raise for teachers for the coming school year, right? Isn’t this the same thing that happened last year? One board of ed member wanted the teachers to get a raise, so they get a raise. So the teachers can all stand down, and HCEA can rest easy knowing that their members are going to be rewarded by the Board of Education, right? Or is what Nancy Reynolds said different than what was said last year?

            By the way, I noticed you didn’t answer my questions about HCEA. Also, do you think taxpayers generally feel good about tax increases, or feel not good about them?

            Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
          • John P. Mallamo says

            Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates,

            Sir, Ma’am

            Well yes you did say it first.

            To their credit, teachers demonstrate, protest, articulate their requirements, or how ever you would like to state it, about increasing compensation every year. This year, last year the year before, every year. that I can recall. It starts at the board of education public hearing. It continues at the County Executive’s public hearing. It goes through the County Council’s public hearing. Then if the outcome is unfavorable it goes through the end of the school year. Last year there was quite an effort to show teachers “working to rule”. Where have you been that you have not noticed. Or do you believe that you are providing an insight that others may not have captured? The finality of the 2014 budget, and the the campaign is not over yet, so we will have to wait and see what happens next.

            Well what you refer to this year is not quite the same as the events of last year. Big difference, perhaps you missed it, is that the Board member last year clearly stated that the Board, again that is the Board, would have to do something regardless of what the County Executive or the County Council did. Big difference is that the Board member stated the Board would do something and they did. This year seems like one member is asking the County Council to find the money for teacher raises, which would probably mean raises for all other Harford County employees, and the rest of the $22M dollars for the Board of education budget. The bet to the County Council would be $22M+ dollars. Check, raise, bluff or call?

            To repeat my earlier question to you and others, who gets less if the Board of Education gets their more? Or, new question, do you really believe that the Board will find $22M this year?

            John P. Mallamo

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            Mr. Mallamo,

            Thanks again for the advice. However, I believe I am quite aware of what is happening and what I have written. HCPS has a serious budget hole which cannot be filled without substantial increases. If the funding for HCPS is not increased there will be substantial cuts. There is not other way. HCPS may realize some small savings through reorganization or modifications to transportation but about 80% of the cost of schools are its employees and associated academic programing. This problem has been building for some time. You asked who get less…I say Harford County should spend less on PayGo, hold the same 70-80 million dollar fund balance as the past rather than over 90 million, stop building new stuff which incurs bonding with subsequent debt service and re-evalutate the number senior Craig admin. management making 6 figures. Likewise, Harford County should postpone fleet replacements, etc. until the economy permits it to pay its workers and purchase the extras. Perhaps too, the scope of the Harford County fleet should be re-examined. How’s that?

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          • too much conjecture says

            It is very interesting that some seem to think that just because one BOE member says something about wanting to fund teacher raises (past or present) that this means a majority of the board is committed to that position. Those that think such things really have no understanding of how the board operates. Board members do have the right to express their personal views.

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  45. If I ruled the world says

    If only they would asked teachers for some input before they begin the drastic cuts. They might be surprised at what teachers would cut from HCPS. Classroom teachers took most of the cuts last year…now it’s time to share the pain.

    1. Instructional Fac.-their jobs are a waste. Teachers see them as someone who has one of the easiest jobs-paid like an administrator but without the hassle of parent problems. In smaller schools, the IF’s might only be there one day a week…can’t really help the staff that much in one day.
    2. Mentors-I do believe schools need to have mentors for young teachers. In smaller schools, the mentors might only be there one day a week also. The county should pay teachers who are already leaders at the schools instead of an outside person.
    3. Special Area-there are too many “floater” Special Area people. They need to consolidate the teachers so a floater doesn’t come in one day and regular special area teacher gets extra planning time or the entire day off.
    4. Math Specialist-schools need to put them back into the classroom.
    5. GT Teachers-since most schools regroup for reading, they are not needed. In math, they need to let the elementary schools regroup for math so that would solve that problem too! In grades 3-5 they should be able to regroup like middle school to meet the needs of the students.
    6. No Harford Glen-I know it is wonderful but it is not needed.

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  46. Socrates says

    John P. Mallamo:

    One more thing, just so I’m clear:

    So what you are saying is that the teachers would have received their 1% increase last year even without HCEA’s efforts?

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    • John P. Mallamo says

      Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates
      Sir, Ma’am

      That is what I am saying. Mr. Burbey’s assertions to the contrary.
      Use the caveats you posted previously on opinions as you see fit.
      John P. Mallamo

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      • Ryan Burbey says

        No, Mr. Mallamo, I think since I was no the negotiations team, I might actually know better what was the temper of negotiations, until we began the job actions. Likewise, I have read and been briefed by legal counsel on the PSLRB rulings. There may well be areas where you know better but I can assure that this is not one.

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        • John P. Mallamo says

          Mr. Burbey
          Sir,

          Check your dates. Particularly the date the board member made the statement and the date job actions started.

          John P. Mallamo

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            No Need. I was there for both. I also was sitting across the table from HCPS’s bargaining team when the job actions were about to begin. I do appreciate your diligence. Unfortunately, do to the serial underfunding of our schools and shortsightedness of the County Executive, HCEA must continuously fight for every little crumb teachers receive. Hopefully, this will change soon.

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          • be more specific says

            What was the date and please identify the school board member your reference?

            Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
          • be more specific says

            Mr. Mallamo,
            We are still waiting for an answer. What was the date and please identify the school board member your reference?

            Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  47. Socrates says

    John P. Mallamo

    “Rewinding the calendar to the base year, the Board of Education proposed a 2% compensation reduction for all personnel. The County Executive put the funding to maintain salaries for HCPS employees in his budget. The County Council approved that budget, and HCPS employees did not take a reduction in compensation.”

    I’m guessing that part of the process was negotiation between the Board of Ed and HCEA?

    “The next year, the Board of Education asked for more money in their budget to give HCPS employees a raise. That contingent raise was in the negotiated contract between HCPS and HCEA. The County Executive did not include funding for the raise in his budget, nor did the County Council amend the budget it to fund the raise. Now here is the part that gets interesting. The Board of Education amended its budget to reflect no funding for a raise, signed it and thought they were done, as they may have interpreted from the prior year that the County Executive and County Council had greater responsibility for the HCPS budget.”

    So…the Board of Ed didn’t realize they were violating the terms of the contract with HCEA? I follow you. But why did they need to go all the way through a hearing with the PLRB? I mean, I’m sure they must know what’s in their own contracts. They certainly must have known their mistake when they were being brought before the labor board. So why did they have to wait for a ruling to amend their actions?

    This part I plead ignorance on: what greater responsibility did the county exec and council have for the HCPS budget in the previous year? I thought the HCPS budget has always been the responsibility of HCPS.

    “Predictably, HCEA filed a labor complaint with the Public School Labor Relations Board (PLRB) for contract violation.”
    Well, sure…after all, their contract was violated.

    “This is the piece that gets quite interesting, and is generally misinterpreted by everyone.”

    But not you, right?

    “PLRB ruled in favor for HCEA only on the contract violation issue. Finding that the contract required HCPS to renegotiate if the County Executive and/or County Council did not fund the pay raise.”

    In an earlier post, I wrote “they found that the Board of Ed already signed the funding agreement BEFORE they came to a final agreement with HCEA, which is a violation of the contract.” I’m pretty sure this is the same thing you are saying.

    “By all measures the PLRB ruling was most favorable to the HCPS and the Board of Education, as it restored their authority for the budget.”

    Right. County money that goes to the school employees has to go through the Board of Ed for distribution; the exec or council can’t hand money straight to HCEA employees. I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s always been.

    “PLRB… directed both HCEA and HCPS to return to negotiations.”

    Which is what HCEA wanted and expected in the first place since it was part of the contractual agreement between themselves and the Board of Ed.

    So, what of all this? I’m not sure why you directed this towards me. You didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know or say, and I’m not really sure what you were out to accomplish with it.

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  48. Socrates says

    John P. Mallamo:

    Except for the part about the greater responsibility the county exec and council had for the HCPS budget. Could you elaborate?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
  49. Socrates says

    “Last year there was quite an effort to show teachers “working to rule”. Where have you been that you have not noticed. Or do you believe that you are providing an insight that others may not have captured?”

    I’m pretty sure I mentioned earlier the teacher protests last year. Does that count as me noticing their efforts, or did I specifically have to use the words “working to rule” for it count? An insight for others? Not sure what you’re talking about. I’ve never doubted for a moment that a lot of people remember those events. But I can’t figure out why the teachers did such things when as you pointed out, “one of the Board members clearly stated that the Board would have to do something for the teachers”. Why the word of one Board of Ed member wasn’t good enough for the teachers is something only they could answer.

    Yes, I see where I missed the difference between what one board member said last year and what one board member said this year. Last year the member said that the board would have to do something for the teachers, whereas this year the member asked the council to do something for them. Yes, you’re right. Big difference.

    “Who gets less if the Board of Education gets their more (sic)?”

    Earlier in this thread I made an observation that “boom times don’t tend to make taxpayers any more willing to increase funding for social institutions than they are during recessions”. In response to my observation you said that I was “speculating and making unfounded presumptions on what people footing the bill want.” Now you are asking me to speculate and make unfounded assumptions on what people footing the bill want. But that’s ok…I’ll play along. Maybe they’ll sell all the county owned vehicles, give the proceeds to the school board, and make the county employees use their own cars; maybe they’ll lay off all the police on the county payroll. Or maybe they’ll even give a number of teachers the pink slip and pocket their salaries. Maybe they’ll do all of the above. Then again, maybe not. Who’s to say what the people footing the bill want? Maybe they should put it to a referendum to find out. But then again, maybe the people don’t want that either. Who knows?

    Or, new question, do you really believe that the Board will find $22M this year?

    Like you said to me earlier when I made the aforementioned statement about taxpayers and budget increases “It appears to me that you presumed that people footing the bill were chagrined by budget increases. Any basis in fact for that?” Well, why should anyone doubt that the board will find $22M this year? After all maybe taxpayers wouldn’t mind an increase in their taxes to fund the school budget. Maybe they would even welcome the opportunity to hand over more cash. After all, we have no reason to presume they wouldn’t, right? But then again, we have no reason to presume they would, either. So I have no idea what the people footing the bill would want. To me, it seemed pretty obvious that taxpayers don’t welcome tax increases and my opinion hasn’t changed; but as you told me: “this is an absolutely serious situation, that should not be resolved by personal opinion, observation or presumption.” I have no facts to support what I think will happen in the future regarding this matter, so anything I say would be presumptuous, and nothing more than a personal opinion based on observations.

    Quite honestly, I’m a little surprised that you would even approach such manner of questioning. You demonstrated considerable disdain towards a statement I made because you felt it was presumptuous, unfounded, and opinionated, now you are asking me questions to which the answers would be presumptuous, unfounded and opinionated…

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  50. John P. Mallamo says

    Concluding
    Previous posting discussed participants, objectives and strategy.

    Reviewing participants.
    Mr. Burbey is still present. Still president of HCEA.

    Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates still present, although postings seem to have more edge. Could be postings form yesterday 2200 – 0122. Very subtly introducing increased taxes, endorsing democratic candidates. Seeking to know from what others know.

    Stated objectives have not changed. Implied objectives has become more apparent.
    Implied objectives
    Maintain HCEA position in this situation.
    Expand HCEA membership.

    The implied objective becomes quite obvious by the urgent and immediate response from Mr. Burbey and Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates defending HCEA when anybody makes any negative posting about it. But again, this is prime recruiting season for HCEA, and time for HCEA members to measure the benefit of their membership and the effect of their leadership. Crunch time for HCEA leadership. Mr. Burbey Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates Same person? Collaborators? Just my observation.

    Analyzing Mr./Mrs./Mss/Miss Socrates’ premise on who more favors education spending. A quick review of who was in the White House and the Governor’s mansion at specified times and a comparison with the BOE budget at those times.
    1993-2001 President William J. Clinton Boe budget 1993 $55,926,503 2001 $128,102,196 @$56M increase
    2001-2009 President George W. Bush Boe budget 2001 $128,102,196 2009 $206,978,734 @79M increase

    1991-1995 Governor William D Schafer Boe budget 1993 $73,810,786 1995 $94,093,475 @$24M
    1995-2002 Parris N. Glending BOE budget 1995 $94,093,475 2002 $138,335,279 $44M increase (in eight years)
    2002-2007 Robert L. Ehrlich BOE Budget 2003 $138,335,279 2007 $189,414,800 $43M increase (in four years)

    Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates Sir, Ma’am you may want to revise your observations and analytical techniques for future discussions. No Mr. Brubey you cannot use percentage changes to demonstrate that there is a different outcome. See Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates discussion of why percentages change.

    Finally some parting words and two very simple requests:

    Very civil dialogue by most.

    Mr. Burbey. Study Sun Tzu from the perspective of others. Read Radical Chic and understand what it means. Both will serve you well.

    Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates you missed the important lesson from you Social Studies teacher. He did not want to extract the truth on why you didn’t do your homework. If he was truly using the Socratic method he wanted you to know the truth about yourself, i.e. he wanted you to know yourself.

    To both of you, please be factual, use more than one source for fact checking.

    For all others. Depending on others to shape your view of the world, and future may not get you where you want to be.

    My requests:
    Mr. Burbey please tell non-HCEA members how much you consider their “fair share” contribution to HCEA, to support your efforts, should be. That was a point that both you and the County Executive introduced in your individual discussions. Seems that it was important to both of you.

    Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss Socrates please explain the Cave allegory with its implications to everyone. Particularly the part about how perceptions may be easily manipulated.

    Absolutely the final words.
    To all those who have contributed to our country with your service in the Armed Forces, and those who waited with them and for them, Thank you.

    John P. Mallamo

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  51. where's the beef says

    I wish Mr. Mallamo would put as much time into researching and offering real and productive solutions as to how the school system is going to deal with this years budget shortfall as he does in analyzing the minutia of past budget negotiations/decisions. This is all well and good for historical purposes but has no real relevance to the problem at hand which is to determine what programs, services, or positions the axe will fall for next school year and possibly beyond. I can see that Mr. Mallamo has access to the school system budget and makes use of it when it suits him. I just wish he would put his prowess for details into helping find real solutions for a serious problem.

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    • ALEX R says

      Finding the solutions is the job of HCEA administration and the BOE. And the solutions are staring them in the face but will be ignored until the bitter end. The solutions are cutting overhead in the form of too much administration and support. If Mr. Mallamo had the best and most creative solutions in the world HCPS and the BOE aren’t interested. HCPS sees one and only one solution. More money, ever increasing amounts of money.

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      • where's the beef says

        This is the typical response from those that make generalized statements then refuse to make any meaningful (specific) and intelligent suggestions on how to address the issue they complain about. Too many administrators and support staff, cut overhead and waste, easy catch words and phrases that offer no real solutions. What administrators, support personnel, increase efficiencies where and how? At least a few on this thread did make specific recommendations. Whether you agree with them or not they addressed the issue in a more meaningful manner. When will you and Mr. Mallamo do the same?

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        • ALEX R says

          When we are in charge. When will those now in charge make some recommendations other than increasing income?

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          • where's the beef says

            “When we are in charge.” Who is we? You will never be in charge because you have nothing to offer but complaints. People are looking for answers. Please do us all a favor and run for the school board. Those currently in charge now have made recommendations and implemented changes but you refuse to recognize what has been done already and at what cost to the system. In a different thread you said you had “been there done that” referencing rt 40 schools. If so you should have enough first hand knowledge and experience with the school school system to make some specific recommendations. Lets hear them.

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  52. Losing Hope says

    Both men are highly intelligent and extremely dedicated to their viewpoint. How are we supposed to know who to support when both claim their facts are true? The average citizen doesn’t have the time or inclenation to spend hours researching. It seems politicians/representatives at all levels are either unwilling or unable to compromise. Sure, the U.S. Congress is a complete and useless clusterf***k, but you would think on the local level some type of agreement could be reached. Neither Burbey nor Craig seem to be apathetic, power-hungry men; both want the best for the people they represent. There’s just too much hard line here. No one’s listening anymore. We should be thankful the Founding Fathers aren’t here to witness what we’ve made of this country. Yes, I am a public school teacher and I pray the next generation has the foresight, empathy and intelligence to fix the situation we so completely screwed up.

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  53. Disaster for HCPS says

    HCPS administrators found out today the number of teacher positions that will be cut from their schools for next year. I hope the dagger can get the official number of positions for each school. It is rumored that the total across the system is close to 100.

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    • Sarah says

      That would be a step in the right direction. The fact that over the last eight years staffing in HCPS has risen by 650 while enrollment has fallen by 2,300 students needs to be addressed. That’s where the teachers’ raises are — in those 650 positions.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3
      • there is more to it than that says

        Just using the total numbers does not give a true perspective of what those numbers represent. If you have children or grandchildren in the school system you will not like what those lost teacher positions will mean to the students. Major changes are on the way, and not just in the classroom, that are not going to be well received by parents. I hope those parents remember that it is the decision of the would be governor and the county council that determine the final school system budget. These adjustments and their negative impact lays squarely at the feet of the elected government officials.

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  54. Disaster for HCPS says

    No documentation. Just conversation with administrators. The official numbers will likely be reported at the school board meeting on Monday.

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