Budget cuts and teacher protests are likely to dominate the next meeting of the Harford County Board of Education. The budget decisions affecting next school year are on the Board’s June 10th meeting agenda, which, in turn, prompted the teacher’s union to plan the protests. The Monday meeting agenda also includes recognition of champion student athletes and a proposed memorial to Steven Hardy, former principal of North Bend Elementary School.
Now that education funding levels for the fiscal year 2014 have been set by county and state government, the Board must cut its spending plans by approximately $19 million to match available resources. Among the items likely on the chopping block is $7.7 million to fund a 1% cost of living increase for all employee;, and a scheduled step increase, or roughly an average 3% raise, for eligible employees.
Anticipating the Board’s move, Ryan Burbey, president of the Harford County Education Association representing county teachers, has called upon his 1,900 members to rally outside the school administration building prior to the start of the Monday meeting. Burbey has also called teachers to “work to rule” by working only their contracted hours beginning Monday through the start of the 2013-14 school year.
In addition to cutting negotiated salary increases, the Board is also expected to cut a number of positions in order to balance next year’s $444.2 million operating budget with available funding.
Unwelcome as it may be, cutting positions is at least familiar to Board members who last year at this time cut 66 classroom and related positions to help fund a 1% COLA and a step increase that were negotiated for the current school year between the Board and the bargaining unions representing the school system’s approximately 5,400 employees.
In other business at the Monday meeting, Board members will recognize individual student-athletes and sports teams that have won Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association (MPSSAA) championships or sportsmanship awards for the 2013 spring season.
On the consent agenda, former North Bend Elementary School Principal Steven R. Hardy will be memorialized on school grounds in the form of a tree to be planted by the North Bend PTA. Hardy was a beloved principal at the school for twenty years prior to his retirement in 2010. He passed away in June 2012. The planned memorial would be the first under the Board’s new policy allowing memorials under a specified approval process. Click here for a link to the new policy.
Also on the consent agenda, a total of six bus contracts would be transferred from IMA Bus Company, Inc. following a request by the company to Day Bus Company, MADBAR Transportation, LLC, and McGuirk Brothers, LLC. The transfer has been endorsed by Cornell Brown, HCPS assistant superintendent for operations, and Charles Taibi, director of transportation, following interviews with the receiving companies.
Contract awards up for approval on the consent agenda, include a $1,761,989.93 award to Eastern Food Services, Inc. of Laurel, MD to supply and deliver a variety of foods for the school lunch program next year, and a $627,199 contract with Royalle Dining Services, Inc. of Owings, MD to supply the program’s snacks and non-carbonated beverages. Both contracts carry a term of one year, with an option to renew for four additional one-year terms.
Also on the consent agenda is a “Decision on Department of Special Education Contracts for Related Service Providers.” No further information was provided on this agenda item at the time of publication.
Finally on the consent agenda, the storm water management system at Hickory Elementary School is currently in violation of county storm water management regulations, necessitating repairs to bring the system into compliance. Angler Environmental of Odenton is set to receive a $134,288.47 contract award for the repairs, pending board approval.
Violations of storm water management regulations figure into another agenda item requiring board approval Monday to transfer funds among budget categories in the (current) fiscal year 2013. The first of three transfers would allow for needed storm water facility repairs at a total of seven sites at a cost of $250,000. Funds originally budgeted for electricity, now available due to the mild winter, will be used to pay for the repairs. The second transfer between current-year budget categories would use $250,000 originally budgeted for instructional salaries to fund higher-than-expected costs for instructional equipment and pupil personnel workers. Finally, a total of $175,000 in the current-year budget for unemployment insurance and custodial salaries (available due to turnover) would reimburse the Department of Juvenile Justice as required for children in state service who received instruction during the 2012-13 school year.
As usual, the board business meeting will conclude with a report from Superintendent Robert Tomback.
The June 10 school board meeting is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air. The public comment period is scheduled for 6:55 p.m.
Below is the published meeting agenda. Please note that published agendas are subject to change.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Board Open Session – 4:55PM – Board Room
Board Closed Session – 5:00PM – Board Executive Conference Room
Board Business Meeting – 6:30 PM – Board Room
*Times are approximate
Call to Order – Mr. Francis F. Grambo, III, President
Quorum Roll Call
Adoption of Agenda
Pledge of Allegiance
6:35 PM Recognitions: (Goal 2)
– 2013 Spring MPSSAA Interscholastic State/Regional Champions, Sportsmanship Awards
6:55 PM Public Comment
7:10 PM Introductions
7:15 PM Board Committee Reports and Comments
7:30 PM A. Consent Agenda:
1) Affirmation of Monthly Contracts (Goal 4)
2) Minutes of Previous Board Meeting: May 28, 2013 (Goals 1 – 4)
3) Decision on Transfer of School Bus Contract (Goal 4)
4) Decision on Distributor Food Products Bid (Goal 4)
5) Decision on Snacks and Non-Carbonated Beverages (Goal 4)
6) Decision on Department of Special Education Contracts for Related Service Providers (Goal 3)
7) Decision on School/Organization Sponsored Project: North Bend Elementary School Tree Planted as a Living Memorial to Steven R. Hardy (Goal 4)
8) Decision on Contract Award for Storm Water Management Repair at Hickory Elementary School (Goal 4)
7:35 PM B. Decision on Transfers Between State Categories for the FY13 Budget, Mr. Jim Jewell (Goals 1 – 4)
7:50 PM C.
Decision on the Board of Education’s Proposed FY14 Operating Budget,
Mr. James M. Jewell (Goal 2)
8:30 PM D. Superintendent’s Report
8:35 PM Future Meetings Review
This school system is a joke. Only one in maryland in such financial ruins. Tax payers should be enraged. Class sizes next year Are above 30 -35 for average and above average students… Good luck with that
Another idea says
What a pitful disgrace. Sincere hopes that the new Superintendent can do what’s right for Harco- after the system has suffered so much in recent years. Good riddance to Craig and Tombeck and the ilk who have done everything to promote themselves and nothing to improve education inthis county. In fact, just the opposite. And we are left with the results.
What a shame our students have to suffer the consequences of work to rule, huge class sizes, cuts to programs, and other results of their myopic visions and misplaced priorities. What a shame our educators have been treated so indecently and driven to such terrible morale.
It really is just that. Shameful.
This is the legacy of 10 years of Wolkow, Rich, Hess, Bob Thomas, Alison Krchnavy, and Tom (conflict of interest) Fidler (now he’s doing the same thing on the liquor board). When zero oversight is provided by the board whose duty it is to be overseers, for so long, this is what you get.
Here’s to helping the new board and administration repair the damage that 10 years of self-serving, rubber-stamping, incompetent arrogance has done.
Mark Wolkow, stay away from our schools (especially with your GEEF). You’ve done enough damage.
Indeed PTB. Blaming Craig for the sorry state of affairs at HCPS is like blaming the sun for garden weeds.
No more like blaming the gardener for not putting weed and feed out!
The Quiet Man says
Please tell me more about how the above named individuals demonstrated no oversight and caused everything that is wrong now. I would really like to read that tale!!!!!!!!
The Money Tree says
Class sizes are no bigger than anywhere else – in fact projections are such that the student population will continue to shrink meaning we’ll need fewer teachers, buildings, bonuses, buses…be mad about your steps if you want but don’t pretend facts that aren’t true.
BAMS teach says
Simply untrue…. Next year algebra 1 classes average 33. That was before Fridays cuts. Our school population has gone up every year I’ve been here. Believe political rhetoric if you choose but the truth is classes are much larger and the only one it hurts is the kids
The Money Tree says
I won’t do your homework for you but you really need to check projections and stats because school aged populations are set to decline. Like I said rail against losing steps if you want but making up stuff is dishonest and does not further your cause.
Eddie McNeil says
I don’t think either one of you are incorrect. The hidden truth is that some schools are indeed over-staffed. Fallston High, for one. There are other schools where population is low, say Joppatowne High, where class sizes are (at least from what I hear) 15-19 students per. However, the Bel Air schools are jammed packed. 33 is not a shock to me.
Yes but consider that a CC class has a max size allowed by law. Special ed drives some staffing decisions.
smart spending says
You don’t need to do my homework… You are simply incorrect. This year my largest class was 30, next year is 33. The average class size this year is 26 and next is 28. That is simply factual information from BAMS. I don’t need your smart @ss comments.
The Money Tree says
I’m talking about projections moving forward…school populations are expected to decline between 3-5% in the short term and more than that as we move further out. In addition, even if I accept your premise we can move some teachers from the undersized classes in other jurisdictions to teach at Belair. We don’t just hire more teachers when we don’t need any more.
they have been moving teachers for years. the projections show hcps losing about 600 students by the year 2019. the problem is that is not all in one district that is all over the county which means each school will lose a little over 10 students, or 2 to 4 per grade.
What we need to look at is balance. Some classes have less than 10 students in them, while others at the same level have over 30. Are students and their scores being resonably looked at? If they are smart and in a lower class, why not bump them up to a higher level class? If they are struggling in a higher level class, why not let them go to a lower level class? Some studenst are placed in the wrong classes completely. For example and honors and AP student who was in those classes and doing well the year before is placed in a CC class the following year. If class size is such a problem, why aren’t redistricting lines redrawn to allow the most efficient use of the school? Why not create magnet programs at each school and advertise that students from other areas in Harford County can go to them. Example, the SMA at Aberdeen. Many people know about that, but did you know that Aberdeen has an excellent and award winning dance team?
Just wait until the pink slips come out in a couple days…rumor I heard was that they’re coming around Tuesday or Wednesday to deliver them.
No idea how many per school or if they’re for teachers, admins, custodians, or other support staff (or all of the above…though somehow I doubt and admins are getting pink slips.)
Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised when they cut the teachers for these budget issues – believe me, there are quite a few ‘middle management’ types at the Roberty building that could easily be cut to save a few teaching positions!
Jaguar Judy says
And the positions should be cut, LeAnn. But unfortunately won’t be. That’s why taxpayers have decided to stop funding waste. And HCPS has decided to take it out on the people who deliver the product, the teachers.
Teachers, if you want to know why you aren’t getting more money the answer can be found in how HCPS spends what they already get.
They are for all of the above…depending on school. Now go vote for Criag. YEA!!! He did so well with the school system – and a former teacher. (should be ashamed). And Dr. Tom is a joke. (but honestly…come on. All educators knew that right when he was hired). The entire system is a scam for a few to benefit from.
Bel air parent says
Soon teachers will not chaperone dances, run clubs, have talent shows, charity fundraisers (hoops for heart), tutor for free, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
HCPS negotiated agreement:
“Elementary and Middle school teachers may be assigned to supervise
school-related activities which are held before or after school or in the
evening. Such assignments will be made so that the responsibilities for
such supervision are shared among the members of the faculty.
Consideration will be given to teacher preferences. Assignments will be
filled by volunteers first. If there are not sufficient volunteers, to fill the
assignments, the remaining assignments will be filled by assigning teachers
in an equitable manner.
High school teachers may be assigned to supervise school-related activities that are held before or after school or in the evening. Each high school
principal shall establish a fair and equitable method for distributing extra
duty chaperone responsibilities among the teachers in the school.
Consideration will be given to teacher preferences when assigning teachers
to supervised school-related activities. Assignments will be filled by
volunteers first. Each teacher will be required to serve as a chaperone for
nine (9) hours per school year without additional compensation.”
In other words: teachers are compensated as part of their base salaries for those duties. There is also a chart on page 37 laying out the additional compensation for coaches, etc that require significantly more time that cannot be distributed among the teachers as a whole. If the teachers do not want to do those duties anymore, they could tell HCEA to renegotiate the contract, reduce their base salaries and institute an hourly rate for those after-school duties.
I am somewhat surprised that the negotiated agreement does not require teachers be accessible to students for tutoring and other assistance before or after school. The other district I’m familiar with required all teachers make themselves available (and inform the students when that was, and where they could be found) for an entire hour either before first bell or after last bell so any student could visit them for help.
Bel air parent says
Only 9 hours can be required, you’re a fool if you think that will cover anything of significance
The extra $20/hr after the first 9 hours is a great incentive, with how many teachers complain on Dagger about their pay, I bet enough would jump at the chance for a little overtime so the school would not have to cancel any sporting events or dances.
smart spending says
Yeah because people with Masters degrees love watching teenagers make out at a dance for $20.00 an hour
Then teaching high school wasn’t a good career choice.
Being an Ahole isn’t a good life choice.
smart spending says:
June 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm
Yeah because people with Masters degrees love watching teenagers make out at a dance for $20.00 an hour
People pay good money for that on the internet
Blah Blah says
I wonder how many $20 per hour duties it would take to make up for all of the missed steps (this next year will be 4)? I know Kharn, the economy sucks. Yet, how can surrounding counties fully fund education? I guess they have some hidden tax base or trick that Harford County has yet to catch on to.
What happened to my salary steps? says
The answer to your question is 750 $20 per hour duties.
Average salary step increase = $1500
1st salary step lost = $1500
2nd salary step lost = $1500 + $1500 from 1st step lost
3rd salary step lost = $1500 + $1500 from 1st step lost + $1500 from 2nd step lost
4th salary step lost = $1500 + $1500 from 1st step lost + $1500 from 2nd step lost + $1500 from 3rd step lost
Total lost = $15000
Number of $20 per hour duties = $15000/$20 = 750 duties needed to make up for 4 lost salary steps
If a typical duty lasts for 3 hours, it will take a teacher 250 days to make up for the lost wages.
Teachers need to get in gear and start working those duties!!! Better yet…FIND ANOTHER JOB!!!
On the backs of public servants says
There are currently about 3000 teachers in HCPS. I estimate that at least 2/3 of those teachers would have received salary steps each of the last 5 years. Due to the lack of salary steps for 4 of the last 5 years (saving an average a total of $15000 per teacher), Harford County Government has saved a total of $30 million. This does not include savings from lost salary steps for other personnel, such as nurses, secretaries, custodians, etc. Other county employees have also not seen salary steps during the last 5 years. How much more money do the citizens of this county expect to save on the backs of thier public servants?
Many teachers have too good of a heart to deny tutoring. It may be that in order to receive tutoring within the duty day, a study hall may have to be reinvented. The problem is how to manage it with all the students and to keep students where they are supposed to be and when.
Basketball Mom says
get Adminstrators out of their offices and actually run the SCHOOL! Probably less students will have issues
Eddie McNeil says
Keep an eye on the cuts and you will find that the layoffs will be teachers. As always, administrators and those at the board level will be spared the cuts.
Jaguar Judy says
And that is why HCPS doesn;lt need any more money. They can’t be trusted to spend what they get wisely. This is not an issue of too little funding. It is an issue of wasting what they already receive.
What positions specifically should be cut.
If a parent was desperately poor, they would figure out a way to feed and cloth their children and provide a home for them. However, HCPS doesn’t look at things this way. It may be as simple as choosing another company to work on the copiers or a different group to provide paper. One school district has parents and local companies sponsor paper. Cutely, at the bottom of items that are on donated paper is “this paper has been provided by ….” so a child’s parent may sponsor a test so to say.
To All HCPS Teachers says
After you show up at the Board of Education meeing tonight, take the following message back to your schools:
The only way the citizens of this county will demand increases in the HCPS budget is if ALL teachers stop doing any activities that are beyond thier contractual duty hours. That means:
Stop scheduling field trips
Stop producing plays
Stop sponsoring clubs
Stop meeting with parents outside of the school day except mandatory parent conferences
Stop emailing parents or returning their phone calls outside of the school day
Stop scheduling observation/evaluation conferences outside of the school day
Stop working for extra duty pay
Stop providing before/after school help
Use your allotted sick leave and personal leave
Work to Rule will never happen, at least not at the level needed to really make an impact. Teachers need to be a lot of things, and compassionate is one of them. Elementary school teachers would never abandon their kids needs, especially those who need love and guidance, but aren’t given any at home. Work to Rule is a cold hearted means for dealing with the budget crisis, and I don’t believe the majority of teachers have it in them to commit to such action for an entire year. A few weeks, maybe. A full school year? Impossible, I’d say.
To All HCPS Teachers says
If your assessment of HCPS teachers’ inability to no longer work for thier students and their students’ parents is correct, then they deserve exactly what they are getting from this county.
However, I disagree with your assessment. There must be a point where teachers are so undervalued and disrespected that they stand up and work for themselves and their families. I believe that point is now.
So, when does the charter school open?
Bel air parent says
When you pay for it
Blah Blah says
Are you kidding? When it comes to education, Kharn doesn’t want to pay for anything. If it were up to him, schools wouldn’t have heat nor textbooks.
I’m more than willing to pay for my kids’ education. I’m not willing to waste money on kids that do not want to learn, or teachers that do not want to teach.
Kharn is a racist says
Kharn hates black people and other minorities. Of course he won’t admit it, but he and all of the people who know him know he does.
Eddie McNeil says
So, Kharn – you are willing to support step increases and COLAs for teachers who want to teach?
I support pay-for-performance.
When are you going to open it. We had one and it closed after failing!
charter schools have one huge enemy that causes them to fail most: a corrupt teachers union industry that cares only about self- perpetuation, power, and eliminating competition or accountability. I love good teachers; hate bad teachers and the unions that protect them at the expense of the children and the taxpayer.
Sure, that’s why the fail.
Jaguar Judy says
I believe Kharn values what I value and many of us value. We want the money which HCPS receives to be wisely spent. It isn’t. We want teachers to be paid what they are worth based on individual assessment of their performance. They aren’t. We want the waste in HCPS to be slashed so more of the good stuff can receive additional funding. HCPS won’t even agree that their is waste. We want our children to receive an education that is relevant to the real world so they can thrive and prosper when they get out. They don’t get that. We want unnecessary administrative functions to be discontinued so the well performing teachers can do what they do best. HCPS won’t even recognize that they have unnecessary overhead much less overhead that makes the system ineffective and inefficient.
Until we see real progress toward these goals, not another dime.
Eddie McNeil says
Judy, I have heard the “pay for performance” arguments in the past and I can some merit in the argument. However, I fail to see anyone incorporating all of those things OUTSIDE of a teacher’s control into the equation.
Here is what I mean. I see kids in my neighborhood running around outside until well after 10 pm. Now, I am quite sure those kids haven’t completed homework nor studied class material. How can you hold a teacher accountable for this kid who is coming to class the next day unprepared and tired because he was up until all hours of the morning?
If someone could adequately factor that in, I could be persuaded.
The high school students are also so hopped up on caffeine in the morning that many crash and fall asleep after lunch.
actually that’s when their ritalin wears off, apparently your has not
FED UP! says
I was previously unaware that you were the sole determiner of who gets one more dime in Harford County, but since you are, apparently, a few direct questions:
1. Do you have any students in HCPS?
2. Are they going to be in any of the huge classes (it’s a fact) or lose any of their favorite programs or teachers- (you know the reasons they come to school and do well?)
3. Do you know any teachers in the system?
3. Do you have a business that would want to employ a future, well eudcated work force?
4. Do you have property in Harford County that is reliant on a quality public school system for value?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, then one final question- can you really be so selfish than to turn your back on the school sytem responsible for educating our future generations because people at the top mismanaged and wasted money (and that point I think we all concede) or can you raise your voice for positive change and fight alongside the teachers and students- the ones suferring- for real reform and change?
Really- in a sense, you do have it partially right when I say it is up to you and others like you to either fight for change and demand it- tonight at the board meeting- or watch it all go down the tubes…finally.
It is ALL UNCONSCIONABLE. All of it.
and watch your property value plumet with that!
I teach, live in, and have a child in HCPS. My taxes are going to my children and their education. Not everyone can afford to live in Harford County, which is why some choose to live elsewhere and raise their kids elsewhere. This is a lost opportunity in extra revenue for the county through patroning businesses and paying taxes. Why not have breaks for those who have families, teach, and live in the county. Sure it will only effect about 3,000 people but it would encourage more buy-in to county government and those who are not as connected to the county to become so. Why not make it a requirement that board employees live in the county where they work? Voting would surely change and mroe people would be likely to attend meetings and voice their opinions if they had to buy-in.
Kharn is the resident troll at the dagger….
Stupid is as Stupid Does says
No matter whether you agree or disagree with what has been said, the result will be bigger class sizes at most schools and also the loss of programs and services to both students and staff.
I wonder if pay to play will become a reality yet?
Where I grew up, there were no public indoor swimming pools for the high school teams to practice in, so they had to be bussed 90+ minutes each way to the nearest available pool. Each year after the swim season ended, parents would receive a bill for the bus service, and every year, they complained and cried about having to pay for it saying they thought it was free. A normal person would have realized swimming was pay-to-play after the first year…
What about everything else!!!!!!
where I grew up people were accountable for their words and actions unlike the internet
CC classes currently run around 30-35- no better than any other classes and these are English and Math- biggest mistake I made- leaving Baltimore County
Statistically, students in lower classes tend to get frustrated more and be more of behavioral problems. NOT all kids in those classes, but you are more likely to have something happen in a CC class than an AP class. Why not have fewer AP classes with more students in them and more CC classes with less students in them. Perhaps the gap will be closed, higher quality education for the masses will be concentrated on, and overall student achievement will be raised simply because there is more one on one interaction.
Jaguar Judy says
And Blah Blah,
You have just recognized Kharn as quite advanced in his thinking because many leaders in the education industry are planning right now for the day when there will be no textbooks. They say that is just around the corner. Unfortunately for you, you have identified yourself as a moron in the process.
There already are fewer textbooks in school, thanks to the disposable workbooks many students are issued. Textbook publishers want schools to go to tablets or laptops for each student (or, if those aren’t possible, disposable workbooks), so instead of selling one book in 1998 and having it last until 2013, they can require each school pay a license fee for each student in every class (or sell one workbook per student) each year.
Blah Blah says
Oh, so sorry to have got your panties in a wedge Judy. I am sure that the county will find the money to give every kid an i-pad. My bad. Funny…now that I type that, they probably will. Bricks, mortar, bells and whistles….but pay, not one more dime!
smart spending says
Kharn is not advanced… He uses little bits of public record to supports his views. Often times his stats and records are filled with loopholes and lack common understanding of the topics he is discussing
CC classes run 30-35- and often there are no empty seats- biggest mistake for me- leaving Baltimore County
To All HCPS Teachers says
The solution to the School Board’s decision to balance their budget by cutting teachers and teacher salary steps is simple:
Work to rule and parents with kids in HCPS will be begging for a budget increase.
Jaguar Judy says
I don’t think you get it. Let me say it again. NO BUDGET INCREASE IS NECESSARY!!!!!!! Cut the d**n waste and put the money where it belongs!!
ALEX R says
Judy, Don’t cast your pearls . . . . .
It is obvious that To All HCPS Teachers is an administrator and not a teacher.
To All HCPS Teachers says
I don’t think you get it. There are a whole lot more parents with kids in HCPS than there are people like you. When their little boy can’t play football in the fall because there are no coaches to coach it, there will be more money in the HCPS budget faster than I can type this sentence. Waste or not, sports rules everyting in the lives of parents in Harford County. Just look at the parks and rec facilities in this county and the stadiums at our high schools. Talk about skewed priorities.
jj what waste? Cutting a few if’s is not the answer. how about all of the private industries that the school system deals with cut their cost? Cheaper computers, fuel, utilities, etc. that might start to put a dent into the budget. Remember a large part of the budget goes to salary and benefits. Why don’t you convince the health care industry to lower their costs?
Words of Wisdom says
Instead of the name calling and finger pointing, let’s make attempts to come up with realistic ideas that can improve the situation. For those in education, what are some areas where we can cut wasteful spending? We need solutions.
Wasteful spending? There is no such thing. What one person deems as wasteful, another deems is vital. It’s all about priorities and what is a priority depends on who you ask. As a teacher, the number 1 priority should be what is needed for education in the classroom. That includes effective, experienced and well compensated teachers. That means athletics and all other extracurricular activities should be eliminated until the classroom needs are met. Support personnel that is not directly related to classroom instructionshould be eliminated. At the end of the day though, does it really matter what teachers think? Until the HCPS budget process uses an open and cooperative dialogue between citizens, teachers and the funding authority, only a select few will determine the funding priority for HCPS.
Here’s a small suggestion – stop wasting so much paper in schools. My kids come home from school with ridiculous amounts of paper that could have been copied double sided or even not at all. Not sure whatever happened to the teacher saying, “take out a sheet of paper, number 1-5, etc”. If it takes longer for the teacher to make the copies than it does for the student to fill it out, it is not efficient use of supplies.
smart spending says
kids never have paper
Well, then hold them responsible for being unprepared. Someone asked for specific suggestions, so I offered one that seemed relatively easy to accomplish.
Maybe if the students were allowed to carry around a backpack with legitimate straps instead of just two pieces of string, they would bring more materials to class.
and if a frog hand wings it wouldn’t bump its’ behind while hopping
if some parents would send their students prepared with school supplies, it would help. Some elementary schools, the students never have paper or pencils. Teachers have sent reminders home about supplies, oh wait those are the parents that have not checked their elementary school students since the first day of school. I have seen this first hand from K to 5th. I have seen teachers buy school supplies to keep in their classroom. The problem does continue in higher grades because once a student knows another student is always prepared guess who is their new ” best friend”.
former teacher says
This is what happened when my school restricted paper in an attempt to save money. I went to Staples and bought reams of it – out of my already overstretched pocket. When is the last time a citizen’s group went over the budget line-by-line to determine where the waste is? When is the last time anyone on the Board made an effort to save money by doing anything more than cutting positions???
There is a lot of waste, most of it the public doesn’t learn about or understand until it is too late to change anything. The trip to China! Let’s start there. How much, in actuality, did that trip cost the district? The appointment of a supervisor of middle schools. Seriously? There is the Superintendent, principals, curriculum supervisors ad nauseum – why was that position even created in the first place (except to guarantee Canavan a job)? There is a lot of waste in the admin office that will never be addressed because the bigwigs like their cushy jobs and their benefits.
Work to rule? Will never happen. Teachers care too much to ignore the all too human aspects of their job. But let’s say it did happen. Do not fool yourself into thinking the public will call for more money for teachers. The public will end up in an uproar over those rotten teachers not doing their jobs.
Harford County has the resources to offer salaries and benefits to its employees comparable to the surrounding counties. What is the BOE and the administrators doing with the money??
As a former teacher, trust me, I realize how much waste occurs with supervisory positions, unnecessary trips, supposedly “valuable” staff development,etc. I am very disappointed to wake up and see that so many positions have been cut and none appear to be anything other than teacher positions. The point I was simply trying to make is, at least at my children’s elementary school, there is a lot of wasted paper. I’m not advocating for schools to restrict the paper forcing teachers to buy their own. I was just suggesting that there could possibly be smarter use of supplies. This year every week my child came home with a thick packet of homework which could have easily been cut in half had it been printed back to back. There would be sheets of paper that were numbered 1-3 with three blanks – that was one entire page. Couldn’t an elementary student be expected to write that on their own notebook paper or at least put it on a half sheet of paper? By no means am I trying to bash my children’s teachers, they have done an amazing job this year.
Many students don’t come to school prepared. Often I have kids come to class with NOTHING. I provide pencils, pens, paper, and whatever they need. I am not required to, but will the child even attempt the work if they cannot afford to bring in the most basic of materials? Sure, growing up I was on the free and reduced lunch program, my parents made sure I had the basics for school. If there was something “extra” I couldn’t participate. Both of my parents worked, they did not have time to go to meetings to protest. They did read the paper and write letters. Reality wise, today, who would go to this much effort if they could not afford the time to speak out.
Time to accept... says
As a HCPS teacher I have accepted the fact, as we all should, that this county has crossed a threshold. The money men have decided they have all the power and that we have none. Absolute power has corrupted absolutely. We have no recourse. Work to rule will have no impact except to portray us in a petty and negative way. Protesting has never and will never have an impact; they will go home from the meeting and sleep like babies. They have no reason to pay us any mind. There are no consequences to their actions. It’s time to accept the reality. I will be applying to other counties, possibly other states, and taking my dedication and skills elsewhere. Let them reap what they have sown.
I Teach HCPS says
Time to Accept….I completely agree. They do not care about working to rule. They just don’t care period. Something needs to be done for the long run that will hurt them more. Every teacher that knows crappy things their admins have done and have been told to be silent need to go to the media. Each and every person who knows a young person wanting to go into education needs to tell them to stay completely away from HCPS and paint the negative picture. Parents need to be informed of all the things that go on when teachers are told to close their mouths. In several years when HCPS has no list of teachers wanting to come to this county (or a list of bad ones because all the college grads are going somewhere else) HCPS to teach and when the economy does turn itself around, they will be screwed. GO to the media and leak out all the funny business and affairs that go on in your schools. When HCPS is painted as a terrible system to the public, things will eventually change. Working to rule does nothing. Hit HCPS where it will hurt in the long run. You won’t reap benefits now but you will down the road.
To All HCPS Teachers says
I disagree with both of you. Work to rule, IF IMPLEMENTED BY A MAJORITY OF TEACHERS, will have a serious impact. Parents might not like it when their child’s teacher no longer provides extra services (some for FREE, some compensated), but they will understand that it is a teacher’s CHOICE to provide those services and not a job requirement. I predict that if a single high school football team were not fielded next season because no teachers stepped forward to coach the team, parents would come out of the woodwork demanding for things to change. Those changes would happen fast. However, the most important question is, will teachers stop coaching and stop providing extra services? If they don’t, they deserve what the are getting.
ALEX R says
I’m sorry to tell you that a majority of teachers won’t work to rule. I think you know that already. I do agree with you and I Teach HCPS that when teachers are told to stay silent about all of the wrong stuff that goes on then they need to talk loudly. But remember that they will be subject to some retaliation initially unless they can find a way to leak it and no one knows it came from them. Where the heck is Burbey in all of this?
We keep hearing, we are the best. We raised this, we raised that, our school is ranked this, our school is ranked that, we made the top X schools in the country. There is a reason for this, dedicated teachers. When dedicated teachers leave, where will that leave us?
I remember reading Fahenheit 451 out of a book in high school as part of the required classwork. Just imagine how close to non fiction that novel is going to be once students are reading it from tablet.
Unfortunately, there aren’t always enough books to send home with students or share between different classes. I don’t think everyone has read Fahrenheit 451. Engaging material that is provided for all is hard to come by. We make due with what we have, when students are engaged they learn more, they question, and they think. Having tablets is not the solution. Only those at the higher levels will have them first and eventually, the used models will be given to the lower classes. By then, those students feel like they aren’t valued enough to have them first so what does new technology mean if it is not access for all. What we still face is separate but equal. It may not be races anymore, but it is economical division. Legacy poverty is harder to prevent and cure than many other social problems. It doesn’t effect one generation, but like abuse, is continued until someone chooses to break the chain.
Time to accept... says
It’s very sad but working to rule will do nothing other than portray us as petty, uncaring, selfish and childish. Like an infant throwing a tantrum. It certainly will not get the general public on our side. Working to rule is like slapping ourselves in the face and only we and the students suffer. Parents may come out of the woodwork but it won’t be to support us. They know what’s going on in HCPS. The general public is aware of our situation. What have they done? Offered to pay higher taxes to fund our steps? That’s just not going to happen. Folks, when a system is as broken and corrupt as HCPS there are two options: fight or just leave it all in your rear view mirror. I am 46 with a family. God bless you who are young and passionate; I wish I had the fire you do. Very best wished fighting the good fight. But my fire is about teaching and working with students to make this country a better place. I am good at it. I deserve better than this.
What would parents and public think of the comment to teachers that “teachers won’t get an increase in pay (step, COLA or otherwise) until student test scores come down.” That is a sad comment made by an exiting higher up at a recent meeting. Ridiculous!
not surprized says
Let me guess – Lawrence or Tomback? Unfortunately also probably true.
I’d expect that attitude of Mr Burbey, but analyzing the situation and coming to that conclusion seems a stretch for him based upon his regular submissions to Dagger.
As long as the students are progressing and doing well…teachers will never get a raise or step. As far as everyone is concerned-as long as students are doing well…there is no problem. Teachers work to rule is great but most teachers will not do it-because they feel like it would hurt their students and also themselves. Its a no win situation-I feel bad for the support staff! Support staff make the least amonut of and really are needed….but the easiest to let go. It is such a sad state this county. Teachers need to consider Cecil or Baltimore County…..
I will be more than disgusted with this county if they keep the former principal of John Archer “working” at Central and continue paying her a prinincipal’s salary! If she remains, then you know that there is no hope for this county putting money where it truly belongs.
Hcps just spends and cuts. Spends money on what makes them look good and cuts whatever will actaully do the most good. If it doesn’t have a photo op or a news article with a positive spin, why do it? When there isn’t enough books for student, paper for photocopies, or working technology, students and teachers feel undervalued. When people feel undervalued, it is more difficult to get spectacular results. Effort can be outstanding, but when you are not valued others are effected.
Why argue with Kharn and those like him? says
As teachers we need to accept the comments section of the dagger is not a forum to air our grievances, nor request sympathy from the public. Also, as the name states, Kharn is way out there, so trying to reason with him and those stacked against HCPS is a waste of time. We can’t argue with fools. As an 8th year teacher on step four, I am beyond disheartened, and unsure how to proceed financially. But we diminish our peers and our profession when we engage in squabbling matches with people who do not support education or the mission of our classrooms.
It seems Baltimore County has some openings in key areas. You can give up on Harford County and get a 6.5K raise by switching. HCPS BA step 4 APC 46,799. BCPS step 9 APC 53,172. Food for thought.
True. However, sometimes it is necessary to vent. There are many others that look at the DAGGER to become informed but do not post.
Support Teachers says
At what point did everyone forget that teachers are people too? Teachers paid the same amount for a college education as everyone else, they pay the same rent as everyone else, they pay the same amount for groceries, utilities, and cost of living as everyone else. Why shouldn’t teachers expect the fair yearly salary increases and cost of living adjustments they were promised when they were hired? If you know a child that attends a Harford County Public School you need to step up and support the teachers!
And teachers paid the same for a degree as someone with a bachelors in underwater basketweaving of indigenous South East Asian tribal people, but that degree holder is sitting in the McDonalds drive-through asking if you want fries or apples with that happy meal for $9 an hour.
The cost of living or the cost of their degree shouldn’t be your argument as someone with a more marketable diploma (engineering always tops the undergraduate starting salary charts, usually followed by various math/finance disciplines) could have attended the same school, shop at the same grocery store and live in the same neighborhood, yet receive substantially higher compensation for their efforts. The reverse also occurs, when someone with an unmarketable degree can’t find a job to even make the monthly payment on their student loans.
Steps were promised by HCPS, and they should be honored whenever possible, but the contract states they are subject to funding, and that funding is supplied by a group not party to or bound by the HCPS/HCEA negotiations.
Okay, so forget the pay increase. The fact that so many positions were cut is sad. The kids are the ones who are going to suffer in the long run, especially when teachers move to other counties and as colleges advise their graduates NOT to apply to Harford County!! This county is a sad place for education support!
Colleges do not care where their graduates end up, they just want a placement in a paying position so they can tell the impressionable high school seniors (and their parents) considering the program that X% of the previous year’s class graduated with a job offer in hand. If Towson or UMBC knows HCPS is looking for new teachers, they’ll gladly invite recruiters to campus.
Not what I’ve heard …. and not that it matters this year….
Absolutely not true as my child was told that. Kharn…you talk out ur @ss and it’s so apparent that you need this attention so you play devils advocate. Pathetic…you are just screaming out for attention from this place. lol. Please go find a brick wall and bang your head against it a few times.
And how many times have you been the person coordinating with the university, working the booth, interviewing candidates and following up with the career center afterwards, telling them what you thought of their students, how many you’re making offers to and areas for improvement to fit your organization’s needs? The career centers live and die on two numbers: 1) percentage of graduates placed in their field of study, and 2) percentage placed regardless of field.
This very subject (new teacher graduates advised not to apply in Harford Co.) was brought up at last nights BOE meeting.
How much is this new stupid CORE program costing for materials and training?
a lot since we waited until the last minute and we have no choice about it.
Parents should call our schools and ask which positions are being cut. It affects our kids.
Harford County Mom says
From what I understand it is last one hired, first one to be let go. I guess the only saving grace for some teachers is if there are teachers transferring out of one school into another.
I wonder if there was any mention at the meeting tonite what schools were loosing teachers.
Some classrooms will be back to over 30 students, especially at some elementary schools, due to School Choice.
Parents you need to start speaking up/contacting the board about the state of your children’s school, once these changes are made. Our children are the ones who are suffering. Please don’t wait for someone else to complain! We need everyone’s voice in matters like this.
On the HCPS.org website, they are looking for public input on several topics. Please voice your opinions/concerns. I left my comments on Friday, May 31st and had the principal of my daughter’s school called me on Monday.
Real Reader says
Fiik, MD has received millions and HCPS a nice pot to pay for all the CC stuff. This summer (and last) 100s of employees were paid to attend summer sessions. None of the money is coming from local $$ – it’s all federal from signing up for Common Core in a program called Race to the Top.
To All HCPS Teachers says
At the Board of Ed meeting tonight, the Board Members tried to explain how they have done everything they can to help teachers. They say they know how hard teachers work. However, they failed to recognize that they have done nothing to cut extracurricular activities from the budget.
It’s time to show the Board of Education and the citizens of this county that their inability to put teachers at a higher priority than athletics and other extracurricular activities is unacceptable. It’s time to stop providing all extra services, compensated or not.
Soul Crusher says
What everybody should be wondering is what are your taxes being spent on. According to the 2013 budget, $.51 of every dollar is spent on the Board of Education, specifically designated to elementary and secondary education. Yet, here we are talking about budget cuts and protests, when the money is supposed to already be there. I don’t recall getting back any of the tax money the county collected, so where did it go? Hasn’t anybody ever wondered how the County got the money to do millions of dollars of improvements to the Harford County Detention Center? Even in times of recession. Hasn’t anybody wondered how the county got the money to build a new Precinct over in Edgewood? Even in times of recession. Hasn’t anybody ever wondered why more and more Law Enforcement is being hired, yet the number of teachers is declining? You do the math. You think about what I’m saying. Yes, Mr. Craig and the rest of the local politicians have a plan for your children and its not what any of you were hoping for. And he wants to be a Governor, HAHA.
This county does not value education. Period. When you value something, it becomes a priority. Counties that value education make it a fiscal priority. While trimming the fat is prudent, cutting into muscle and bone is detrimental. Eventually, “doing more with less” becomes “doing less with less.” I’m afraid we’ve reached the tipping point.
91 positions cut.
Zero of them were the “fluff” at the AA building. Sad state of affairs.
Enrollment keeps dropping. Wonder why parents are pulling their kids out of HCPS?…….
A Student says
1. This question is aimed at the students/teachers/administrators of HCPS: what types of waste have you seen while at HCPS?
2. As a graduating senior, I want to share some of my experiences with the general public. This isn’t a criticism or “attack” on HCPS as ALL organisations have SOME form of waste. Rather, my intent is to show where I have seen waste and see if any others have seen similar waste. By pulling our resources we can possibly identify areas where there is waste and where change can be made.
-As mentioned earlier, paper. So much paper was wasted at my high school and I would suspect throughout the system. Extra copies of crossword puzzles, leftover packets (for students who forget), and virtually unlimited printing in printers for students probably has cost the school a good deal of money.
-Library: I understand that the school library needs to have books for all reading levels, but why do we need childern’s chapter books in high school? In a similar vein, there are many different online resources that HCPS pays for that the library system has as well. The library system and the school library should create some form of “sharing” system. This could streamline costs while encouraging reading outside of the classroom.
These are just two of the big things that I have noticed throughout my time at HCPS. While I am leaving Maryland for college (and don’t plan to return-nothing against MD or Harford Co) I do hope that this gets resolved and that conditions improve in HCPS, not only for the taxpayers of this county but for the students.
1. Cut the fluff at AA Roberty (like failed principals) and layers of administration.
2. Cut the “appreciation” budget….teachers would rather have a step, COLA and a personal
“Thank you” from their administration rather than a coffee mug.
3. Cut all food for meeting out of the budget. You want it? Bring it yourself.
4. Stop spending money on electronics and books that just sit around!!! Reward those who “have left over funds” and not those who “spent it all”…
5. Have some accountability for the custodians and maintenance staff that stand around–and sleep in their HCPS cars.
6. Have equity in training days rather than each principal deciding when the training day is over.
7. Have a better request/forum for parent and community volunteers. Use volunteers to fill the void.
8. Visit facilities in the afternoon. See who is sitting around (and not working)….
9. Cut the instructional facilitators. What a waste!
I’m sure there’s more but I’m tired…
Parents…your child will be one of 27-30 in a primary classroom now. No teacher can give your child the nurturing and guidance they need in such an environment. Just a question…can someone answer if a parent is REQUIRED to have their children take the MSA test? Would that possibly speak to HCPS? Refusing to have your child be tested?
HCPS teacher (for now) says
Holding your child at home during MSA or refusing to take the test will penalize your child’s teacher but not your child. Teachers are judged based on test scores. That process will be more formalized starting next year. Absentee rates are part of test scores and count negatively against the school and the teacher of the absent kid. Of course, the teacher can’t drive to your house and drag your kid to school but it is somehow our fault if they miss the test. I guess if I was a better teacher, your kids would skip to school and jump for joy at the thought of taking a standardized test. Also, if your kid’s school is picked to pilot the new standardized tests next year, they will be tested twice, both MSA and the new test. A whole month or more of testing! Yay HCPS!
FED UP! says
When I think of how much money is spent on the tests that everyone hates and that are ruining education on a NATIONAL LEVEL against all of the best reccomendations from colleges and experts in education for their validity or success in preparing kids for anything but taking a test- tests we all know mean nothing, do nothing, but make the testing companies richer, and are only indicators of one aspect of a child’s education–when I think about these tests and the 91 one pink slips given today to hard-working members of our community with families and children- I am beyond enraged.
The Way It Is says
Years ago when test scores were down (I believe they were SAT scores), an editorial in the local paper stated that the teachers didn’t deserve raises until they earned it by bringing those scores up.
The next year when the scores came up, the same paper had an editorial that stated, why should they pay teachers more for what they are already doing for less?
So there you have it. Teachers….if you work to contract, you are scum who don’t deserve what you are already getting, let alone a raise. But if you go above and beyond by sponsoring clubs, running drama productions, buying supplies for your classrooms and for students who “have not”….well why should we give you a raise when we are already getting these things out of you for free?
Such is the Mantra of the 48th wealthiest county out of over 3100 counties in the U.S. (according to the 2010 census bureau). It’s sick and disgusting.
Experienced Educator says
I can’t help but to wonder why the system isn’t offering an early retirement package to encourage people who are openly saying that they plan to work for ‘one or two’ more years for retirement planning purposes– with 35+ years under their belts. The future of teaching is being cut while veterans who are ready to go– but can’t just yet– are remaining. And, they are remaining at a time when teacher evaluation is changing drastically; the work we do to shift to Common Core and the new Teacher Evaluation process with teachers next year is not very useful to someone who doesn’t plan to make the shift and put it in practice for years to come. It’s not that I don’t personally value these veterans. I do. They have been my mentors and colleagues for over twenty years. Please don’t misunderstand. It’s just a common business practice when money is tight to offer this to people on the brink of retirement. A veteran with almost 40 years of experience costs about as much as two new teachers– roughly speaking.
HCPS teacher says
How are teachers to get the best success with crowded classes. The addition of the Common Core is scary as it changes evaluation yet we won’t be set up for success due to increased class size. I feel that we are being set up for failure. After 15 years and 4 years of no raises, my time may be coming. It is sad because I love my job and the kids. I know I have given them much and prepared them for college and beyond but where is the same care and concern for me as a person and professional. Having 34 kids in class isn’t fair for the students or teachers but no one cares. When I began teaching, people cared.
Oh boy, no cuts from the Central Office! Why am I NOT surprised!? You mean that every one of those positions at Central is vitally important to the education of the children of HCPS and NOT the teachers!? I will continue to have all of my friends who still work for this dreadful county system in my thoughts.
Three teachers at my school lost their jobs today and now our school will be in worse shape than it already is! Wake up people; this is about our children and their futures. I really hope that our children’s parents will stand up to our politicians and demand money for education!
TEACHERS…nothing will get done until you committ to NOT doing anything extra…clubs, activities, plays, sports, tutoring…anything. We NEED to do this and come together. Work to Rule isn’t enough. A message must be sent that we have had enough. Many teachers are talking about this very thing for next year.
I’m sorry to all those teachers that will be let go. They don’t deserve it one bit.
I wish there was another way.