Harford School Superintendent Canavan: “Without Full-Funding Support of This Budget, Our Current Offerings and Programs Will Be Compromised”

Harford County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Barbara Canavan and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jim Jewell presented the superintendent’s recommended operating budget for the fiscal year 2015 to the Board of Education at a board business meeting held Monday. Below is the text of their public remarks.

Superintendent’s Remarks for FY 2015 Proposed Budget


Good evening Board President Reynolds, Vice President Grambo, and members of the Board. This evening, we are here to present the proposed operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2015. Although this is the Superintendent’s recommended budget, this proposal was developed through a partnership with the entire community.

At the start of this school year, this budget process began internally with a significantly different conversation than ever before. All of our employees were given the opportunity to provide me with their thoughts on potential cost-saving, revenue-generating, and cost avoidance measures. In addition, for the first time ever, an employee-only budget open forum session was held to allow employees the opportunity to provide their input directly to me.

From there, the public was fully-engaged in the process. In addition to two public open forums, the dedicated budget email account, budget@hcps.org, was opened for all interested community members to provide feedback in any form they felt appropriate. The email will remain open until this Board votes on the final approved budget for next school year in May.

In years past, we have heard consistently from the public that they would like to partner with us in developing the budget. While we cannot meet individually with each constituent, we wanted to open our books to all those who wished to partner with us. Through no cost to the school system, our very-talented Technology staff developed an online budget input tool for use in providing a line-by-line proposal. To date, we received 31 budget submissions through the use of that tool and all of them are posted on the school system website.

My Leadership Team and I spent countless hours reviewing and considering, in great detail, each proposal, suggestion and idea. Thoughtful consideration was given to each idea and many of the ideas were incorporated into this budget request. We heard very clearly from the public and our employees that our focus must be on the academic needs of our students and restoring our employees to a competitive wage package within the job market. With that in mind, the FY15 proposed operating budget was driven by four core objectives: preserving the integrity of the instructional programs, preserving jobs, restoring our salary structure to ensure it is competitive with other systems, and preserving employee benefits.

At this time, I am going to turn it over to our Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jim Jewell to provide you with the highlights of the FY15 budget request.



The Unrestricted Budget represents an increase of $32.7 million or 7.7% increase

The Restricted Budget represents a decrease of -$.9 million or -3.1% decrease.

The Current Expense fund which is the consolidated Unrestricted and Restricted budget represents an increase of $31.9 million or 7.0% increase

Cost of Doing Business Expenditures

We have included a wage package increase for employees. We have fallen behind our neighboring counties of Baltimore and Cecil for comparable teaching salaries. As Mrs. Canavan stated, we are looking to restore our salary structure to ensure that we recruit and retain the most qualified and effective employees for our students. Harford County Public School employees received one wage increase in the last five fiscal years.

Health and Dental care expenses for the school system are forecast to increase by 8.2 million or 10% next fiscal year.

Pension expenses will increase by $1.9 million related to teaching positions and will be fully-funded by Harford County Government as mandated by the State of Maryland

The proposed Unrestricted Operating Budget includes an increase of $8.9 million in “Cost of Doing Business”. The $8.9 million is comprised of $7.6 million in instructional costs and $1.3 million in Operational/Administrative costs that are necessary to recover, sustain and/or maintain the current educational experience of our children.


Unrestricted revenue

State funding is projected to increase by $2.9 million in fiscal year 2015. This projection assumes the same per pupil funding level as last year adjusted by factors such as overall enrollment change, the number of students eligible for Free And Reduced Meals and the number of students receiving special services. The increase in revenue also includes the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA) grant of $935,788 which was not approved by the Governor in FY 2014, but is projected to be funded as a one-time event in FY 2015.

At this time, the state revenue projection does not reflect potential adjustments to the “County Wealth Factor” and changes in overall funding levels, both major components of determining a county’s revenue allocation. This information will be released in January 2014.

HCPS has reduced the contribution from fund balance from $5.6 million to $3.5 million, a reduction of $2.1 million,

HCPS is requesting $33.0 million in support from the Harford County government for the FY 2015 budget request.

Restricted revenue

Restricted revenue is projected to decrease $.9 million from State, Federal and other sources in FY 2015.


Thank you, Jim.

With this presentation, this budget request now becomes the Board’s budget to consider. It is important for the public to know that we are still in the very early stages of the budget process and the Board will also hear from the public and others regarding their thoughts and suggestions regarding this proposal.

Please understand — I must be very candid and forthright regarding this request. Without full-funding support of this budget, our current offerings and programs will be compromised. Over the past five years, the school system has reduced the budget by over $38 million dollars through the implementation of cost-reduction measures, coupled with the use of turnover savings. In addition, 240 positions have been eliminated since FY10. Although the cuts were designed to minimally impact students and staff, we can we can no longer provide the services that our community has come to expect. Quite frankly, our students deserve much more.

We have consolidated and reduced staff to make our lean staff even leaner without compromising further programs and services. We have hit the bottom of the barrel. Within this budget you will see that we are looking to restore instructional positions that were lost over the last few years to the detriment of our instructional programs and offerings. Our organization is in a unique position than that of many others in the county. Unfunded mandates plague our system and we are required to abide by the regulations. We do not have funding authority and therefore we rely on our local, state and federal government to supply us with adequate resources.

You just heard Mr. Jewell discuss our Cost of Doing Business items which represents our critical needs without which we cannot meet the educational needs of our students. In addition to those needs, not reflected in our request, is our Priority List which represents items that the school system recognizes as future funding needs that will allow HCPS to expand and enhance the educational opportunities for all students. We take our fiduciary responsibility very seriously and while we are presenting a needs-based budget, it is important to present the Priority List as well so the community is aware of all needs of the school system.

In the event that this budget is not fully-funded, with the amount of input we have received, a complete list of suggested programs, services, and staff that will need to be considered for elimination will be developed. If we arrive at a point where it is clear we will again be facing a budgetary shortfall, we will bring those cuts forth for consideration by the public and this Board. I feel it is necessary to be forthright with this Board and the citizenry– anything less than the requested amount will result in cuts. We must all be proactively prepared for that potential reality.

The success of the school system impacts the livelihood of the entire community, our quality of life and the future of our children. This concludes our presentation, I would be happy to answer any preliminary questions you may have at this time.


    • HCPS is Useless says

      That same submission suggested to “add armed guards so they can shoot assholes that are trying to harm kids”. Did someone from HCPS actually read the submissions before they posted them? You would think they might have censored the word “assholes”. Unbelievable.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7
      • show it all says

        I am glad they posted uncensored submissions. It gives anyone that reads them an opportunity to see what kind of nonsense the superintendent and the school board have to deal with. At least there were some people who took the time to make thoughtful and legitimate suggestions. Whether these suggestions make it into the budget we will have to wait to see.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1
        • LOL WTF says

          Don’t like it? Don’t read it, pretty simple.

          Did it ever occur to you the fact that anyone with an internet connection anywhere on this planet can”submit a suggestion”? It doesn’t take a degree in higher education to figure that one out, but who knows, maybe it will in the future at the going rate we’re headed?

          You open up “suggestions” to the internet, you honestly believe it would be like your Town Hall meeting? What planet you live on, man?

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      • Cdev says

        Why should they censor it. The submission asked them to not indoctornate and wants to spend 21,000,000 on self defense classes!!!!!

        Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  1. The Money Tree says

    Really; seriously? Indoctornate…oye vey and in the classroom teaching. I’m hoping you’re another of the fools that likes to pretend you’re somebody else.

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  2. They Money Tree is my female dog says

    Hey moron do you work or have any real hobbies? Seems as though all you do is troll on the dagger and bad mouth education. Perhaps finding a lady friend or a guy if that is how you roll would be a more suitable way to spend your free time.

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    • Uhhhh.... says

      Hey Money Tree…I think Cdev put “indoctornate” because that is exactly what was put on the HCPS budget site by the person he was referring to. Did you go to the site and read some of what people suggested for the budget? There are some real doozies…!

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

        Well, maybe you should before you criticize the people who took the time to. And by the way, I noticed you’ve spent your share of time on these threads discussing the school budget. Did you submit a budget to the school system like you were given the opportunity to?

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  3. Teach Em like theyre going to college says

    What’s funny is that I have yet to see a rebutle when the terms like “indoctrinate”, “nanny” , “daycare” , “uncommon sense” , start to be thrown out there, in relation to current day school.

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  4. The Money Tree says

    Afraid to look actually. Although the intent is laudatory to seek open suggestions from the public using the anonymous shield of the internet almost guarantees nonsense – I mean heck look how bad it gets on the dagger sometimes.

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  5. The Money Tree's Daddy says

    Atta Boy Money Tree,

    It’s like I always say. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re probably a Troll on the Dagger.”

    Keep it up, Son.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2
  6. The Money Tree says

    What’s very, very sad here is the poopy mouthed vitriol over a very tiny comment. There’s no link in this article to public comments; nothing to suggest that anyone should or ought to read the comments to make them part of this article or even germaine. If cDev read them and then every other commenter as well it might suggest a more involved group either administrators or those involved in this budget process – perhaps teachers or union officials. If that be true and all these hideous comments – language that is inappropriate are being made by a group of people all of whom ought know better. Wow…and these are the ones who decide what goes on in our schools.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8
  7. Uhhhh.... says

    Now wait just a minute…it was YOU who mocked Cdev when he used the word “indoctornate” in the post that began this dialogue. So it’s ok for YOU to mock someone, but when others come down on you, all of a sudden it’s “vitriol”. Furthermore, you didn’t take the time to read the material he was referring to, so your comment was also made out of ignorance. Finally, this entire thread, since the first post, has been about the budget tool provided by HCPS and some of the items that were submitted there; and while the article didn’t provide a link to the site, a link was provided in the very first post of this thread. Finally, even in your above post, you go on to say “Wow…and these are the ones who decide what goes on in our schools”. You have absolutely NO evidence to assume that any comments made here are by school officials or employees. But you do assume that, and you assume the worst, and you again put them down.

    No, what is really sad here is that you can make fun of other people without knowing who they are, without knowing what they are referring to, without taking the time to read and understand their references, but you still expect others to treat you with respect. It’s not only sad, it’s unrealistic. People don’t tend to respect individuals who are rude, insulting, and ignorant. If you want people to respect you and your thoughts, be respectful to others.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  8. The Money Tree says

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

    Poorly-rated. Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13
    • Deserving says

      And who is deserving?

      The teacher with the most students?
      The ones that teach the motivate AP students?
      The teachers who service the special population?
      The one that organizes the most field trips?
      The one that gives the students an A for attending class?
      The one that is the best parent to disengaged families?
      What is the ideal criteria?

      Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
      • Mr Pilkington says

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

        Poorly-rated. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 20
        • Tired says

          Cost of salaries have double in 30 years.

          But, gas prices have risen 5x the rate since 30 years ago. Car cost have risen 5.5x. Home prices have rise 6.5x . Not doubled , but 5x

          Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
    • Cdev says

      The above comment made at 10:23 PM last night was by me the real Cdev. I was in fact pointing out the irony of the situation in calling for censorship of a budget suggestion when it was full of spelling errors and a request for 21 million, or 4% of the total budget, on self defense classes!!!!

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  9. Concerned Citizen says

    Having had close proximity to education-related programs and budgeting, I have seen over the years how the school system comes up with a budget that in each successive year, is higher than the last, and when it is not funded in total, the school system screams and cries that their budget has been cut. Keep in mind that their budget has not been cut; its just that the increase is not as large as they would have liked. Teachers and other staff are upset that there is no money for raises. Especially during current economic challenges, where should the money come from? The taxpayers who are already challenged with increasing costs got nearly everything these days, including increased car registration fees, tolls, gas tax, etc. Teachers are tremendouly important and most do a great job. They deserve to be paid well. I would just like all the education folks out there to know that there are other hardworking people who also perform a valuable service and haven’t gotten a raise in a long time. Those that have a job and health benefits are fortunate. To give you an example, nurses, including those withasters degrees work 12 hour+ shifts, including rotating shifts. They work daily in saving lives and caring for many different types of patients, including those who may be infectious, violent, or just downright rude and obnoxious. I know nurses who have been layed off and new graduates not able to find a job. Just another perspective to consider.

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    • Ryan Burbey says

      Concerned Citizen,

      It is not that teachers do not understand that the economy has been tough on everyone. It is not that we don’t empathize. It is not even that we haven’t had raises. The problem is that our contract which includes yearly increments has not been honored. It is impossible for teachers to budget he costs of their continuing education and professional development if these steps are not honored. We simply cannot afford to maintain our households or provide properly for our families. It is not practical for teachers to work during the school year, although some do. The workload is overwhelming.

      The problem also is not that there is not money to fund our schools. The problem is that the money is not being spent on our schools.

      If these problems are not corrected soon. Harford County will no longer have high quality schools. HCPS will no longer be able to offer competitive programing or keep quality teachers. Our entire community will suffer. Our property values will decline. Our children will have difficulty getting accepted to quality universities.

      If we don’t collectively make our schools a priority, our future is bleak. it goes far beyond etcher salaries. The quality or public education in our county is in jeopardy. Our children’s futures are at risk.

      It is simple. 19th out of 24 counties in funding is not good enough. Our schools increased funding.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8
      • Ryan Burbey says

        Please excuse the typo. It should have read: It is not practical for teachers to work additional jobs during the school year, although some do.

        Our teachers and schools need your help. This is far beyond ideology and politics.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7
      • UNION MAN says

        How do you enforce the contract? You have no power. No power to strike, No political power because the board doesn’t have to do anything! The unions have no power in the government. Is arbitration legal binding? The only thing the School boards unions do is tk your money to endorse democrats!

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

          Ryan Burbey said, “It is not practical for teachers to work during the school year, although some do”.

          I think you said it right the first time. It’s not practical for teachers to work!! Ha ha ho!

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

            It was a typo. It should have read: It is not practical for teachers to work additional jobs during the school year, although some do.
            I apologize for the mistake.

            It is very sad that anyone would make the kind of statements you are making about our teachers’ dedication. You may find this situation amusing but it is not for us.

            We see the school system that we routinely sacrifice and give to build crumbling before our eyes. Although those on the outside may not see the long term impact. Those of us on the inside see our colleagues leaving. We see the lack of appropriate materials. We see the lack of necessary programing. We also reflect on our personal futures and find it increasingly difficult to justify remaining in a county that neither supports us financially by funding our contract or professionally by providing a quality workplace and professional development system. To make things worse folks like you mock the tragedy which is unfolding before our eyes. I truly worry what will remain of our once successful school system for our future students.

            So, mock and laugh if you must. Point fingers and stand in your ideologue corner. If funding for HCPS does not improve, the citizens of Harford County will look back on this time as a time when we could have avoided disaster but were to foolish to realize the importance of investing in our schools.

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

            Burbey -

            You and the union are the problem with our schools locally and nationally.

            Unions stand in the way of better schools.

            You are the problem, you are the cancer, you are the villain.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13
          • Ryan Burbey says

            Could you please elaborate on how unions, which by the way advocate for students as well as teachers, are the problem in our schools?

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

            Unions have never advocated for teachers and at the same time done so for students.

            Unions are a financially powerful political force that supports candidates and legislation that hurts education.

            Unions are against technology that allows for virtual learning, online in-school instruction and hybrid teaching solutions.

            Burbey you and your local and national union cohorts are the enemy of students and their education.

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

            Please Yowzah! explain the doubling of costs and the decline in results over the last 30 years?

            The unions demanded more teacher pay and got it. Students achieved lower test scores.

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          • Cdev says

            Which test are you using to make your assertion. Specific to Harford County. Which test have Harford County students scores decreased while teacher pay increased?

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          • Mr Pilkington says

            If you can show that costs have not doubled in the past 30 years and over that same period of time test score results have markedly improved go ahead and do it.

            Cdev are you Burbey’s pet Dagger Troll and apologist?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6
          • Mr. Pilkington's Daddy (Karl) says

            Hey Pal,

            You were the first to assert that test scores are down in Harford County, so the burden of proof lies with you. Please explain, with actual data, how the test scores have fallen.

            Also, your assertion that the cost of running the school system has doubled over the past 30 years was great! How about the price of everything else. Has the value of you home increased? How about gas? Groceries? Please don’t tell me that the value of the American dollar has decreased due to inflation.

            Have a great day, Tiger!

            P.S. Mom says hi.

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          • Mr Pilkington says

            It’s very clear that tests scores across the United States, Maryland and Harford County have not measurably improved over the past 30 years, while teacher salaries & education costs have doubled or more.

            Karl if you want to pretend that teachers and schools are doing a great job be my guest.

            However it’s not true. Could they do a better job yes, but they won’t since the Union prevents innovation and improvement.

            Have a nice day!

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          • Mr. Pilkington's Daddy (Karl) says

            Pilky, Pilky,

            I didn’t see any data with your last comment, so I’m assuming that either you haven’t bothered to look, or there is no data to support your argument.

            Maybe spend less time bashing Burbey and the union and more time formulating an intellectual argument based on facts rather than just your opinion.

            Have a great day, Champ

            Karl Pilkington

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          • Mr Pilkington says

            Karl -

            We all understand that you want to say investment in education hasn’t doubled in the last 30 years and there has been an appreciable improvement in student’s results.

            Problem is facts won’t help you.

            Have a nice day!

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            “In the fast-paced, worldwide, competitive workplace we now live in, our traditional school models are not capable of meeting the needs of the 21st century student. All students—pre-k through graduate students—need to develop advanced critical thinking and information literacy skills and master new digital tools. At the same time, they need to develop the initiative to become self-directed learners while adapting to the ever-changing digital information landscape.
            This shifting landscape creates new opportunities for NEA, our affiliates, our members, and our profession in preschools, public elementary and secondary schools, and postsecondary institutions. The appropriate use of technology in education—as defined by educators rather than entities driven by for-profit motives—will improve student learning, quality of instruction, and education employee effectiveness, and will provide opportunities to eradicate educational inequities.
            Digital technologies create new opportunities for accelerating, expanding, and individualizing learning. Our members and students are already actively engaged in building the schools and campuses of the future—including quality online communities. Increasingly, teachers, faculty, and staff are becoming curriculum designers who orchestrate the delivery of content using multiple instructional methods and technologies both within and beyond the traditional instructional day. Teaching and learning can now occur beyond the limitations of time and space.
            NEA embraces this new environment and these new technologies to better prepare our students for college and for 21st century careers.”
            Doesn’t sound like opposition to me…

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          • Mr Pilkington says

            Ryan -

            If you read very carefully the NEA isn’t going to support online, distance and hybrid learning unless they can control it with additional work rules.

            The NEA Policy Statement reads as though the internet was born yesterday and online learning has yet to become available to public schools.

            NEA is against education reform and improvement since it hurts their bottom-line.

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    • A Continuous Spiral of Decline says

      The problem with your argument for keeping education funding flat or decreasing it… “Especially during current economic challenges, where should the money come from? The taxpayers who are already challenged with increasing costs got nearly everything these days, including increased car registration fees, tolls, gas tax, etc.”…is obviously that teachers are taxpayers, too, that have increased expenses. As their take take-home pay decreases due to failing to increase their compensation, teachers are forced to find income elsewhere by taking second and third jobs. This leads to teachers having less time to do their jobs well and the quality of instruction that they are able to provide to their students declines. This leads to an ineffective education system that the public does not want to continue to fund and the cycle continues to where we are today. Unless you are satisfied with a continued decline in our education system, fully funding the requested budget seems to be the logical choice. For those that say “we’ve significantly increased funding for education over the last several decades with little to show for it”, I suggest you look critically at the new education services that have been provided over that time, including equal educational opportunities for ALL students, regardless of race or disability. Reducing some of those services can always be considered as a solution to decreasing the budget, but if it is, then the public needs to be willing to sacrifice those services. I think we have already seen that the public has a difficult time accepting that….pay for play, reduced transportation services….and more services will be cut if the requested budget is not approved. To make teachers the scapegoat in all of this by instituting a pay-for-performance salary system also seems to be unrealistic. It is unlikely that all of the barriers (political, logistical, financial) that would need to be overcome for that to happen will ever be. It seems like either increasing the budget or cutting services are the only choices.

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    • also a concerned citizen says

      Another way to look at is that the while funding may have been increased slightly the increase has not kept pace with the rise in the cost of doing business. As a result programs have been eliminated and services reduced, the most significant reductions having occurred this year – fees, changes to transportation, course offering reductions and elimination of entire programs limiting the opportunities for students. Everyone also forgets or chooses ignore that the school system returned millions of dollars to county government at the request of the County Executive which did result in a reduction of total county funds even as the State and Federal Governments were cutting their contributions.

      I also know recently college graduated teacher candidates that can’t find jobs and experienced teachers that have been layed off. I also know that nurses, firefighter, and law enforcement personnel are getting paid for all of those 12 hour shifts and get overtime pay when necessity requires them to work beyond. Those working 12 hour shifts also have schedules that allow them to have several days in a row off work and many take advantage of the this extended leave time to work secondary jobs.

      Not that it really matters but you brought up education. Firefighters and law enforcement officers need not have an education beyond a high school diploma or GED and yet they make as much or more than some teachers.

      Educators also care for many different types of students, schools can be some of the most infectious of places ot work, rude and obnoxious students and parents have become the norm in many school buildings classrooms, and I know many teachers who have been threatened with violence or assaulted.

      The cost of living is going up for everyone. Those working for the school system are also having to pay for all those increased car registration fees, tolls, gas tax, etc.

      As for not getting raises this seems to be singular to Harford County. Educators and public safety personnel in surrounding jurisdictions have managed to receive raises (even during the economic downturn) – hence our county being near the bottom in pay scales in these professions.

      All of these hardworking people perform a valuable service and deserve to be compensated fairly. Just another perspective to consider.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
      • Concerned Citizen says

        Most hospitals in our area as well as other areas are tightening their belts. They are all looking at their bottom lines. Part of this has to do with reduced Medicaid reimbursement for the patients who are coming to the hospital for care. They are also bracing for additional impact on their budget due to Obamacare-related changes. As a result, nurses are getting layed off, asked not to come in for their shift (cancelled) if the patient census is low that day, and not allowed to work past their full time status. Gone are the days where you can pull in all that overtime. That’s part of why there are many more nurses working per diem I today’s world.
        And you definitely don’t want to go there with me regarding taking care of people with infections – gaping, oozing, infection-laden wounds

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      • Cdev says

        Depends what they teach. Social Studies teachers are a dime a dozen. Special Ed, Science and Math teachers are a precious commodity!

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        • Mr Pilkington says

          Cdev says “Special Ed, Science and Math teachers are a precious commodity!”

          So why don’t we pay them more than social studies teachers?

          Oh we can’t the union won’t let us.

          We have to treat everyone the same because that’s fair.

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          • Mr Pilkington says

            Ryan -

            You’re just so precious please don’t ever change.

            We know you are in charge of maintaining and sustaining the status quo.

            If schools embraced online learning that might mean we need fewer teachers, gain efficiencies and improve the results.

            You and the union will keep doing your best to ensure that improvements never happen and that the union stranglehold on education will continue.

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  10. Concerned Citizen says

    Ryan, I hear you, honestly I do. Personally, I think it is wrong (and probably illegal) for a contract not to be upheld. Why aren’t the folks responsible for this held accountable? Where are our elected officials? MSDE? Sorry, but I think that teachers should only be provided raises based on performance that is actually measured. It would certainly help to change the culture of schools with all teachers who are exceptional and in the classroom for the right reasons.
    Regarding the economic issues that many of us face, I do understand but sometimes we need to make choices. I know nursing professionals that work full time positions and have a second job working per diem at another hospital. Unfortunately, this takes them away from their families and other leisure activities they would prefer doing. If they are not able to pare down their own expenses, this is how many nurses have chosen to make ends meet.

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    • Ryan Burbey says

      It just is not possible for teachers to thrive or even survive in this environment. They are being asked to sacrifice thousands of dollars that they could make elsewhere for loyalty to a school system and county which has shown them nothing but disdain.

      Very few if any teachers are in the classroom for “the wrong reason”. Performance pay has been proven to have a negative effect on overall educational outcomes and overall quality of education.

      There is only so far expenses can be pared when you are required to have a masters degree within ten years and are required to consistently continue your education to maintain your job.

      The point is that if we do not invest in our teachers and schools, we will not have quality schools.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
    • also a concerned citizen says

      Do you also suggest that law enforcement officers be paid on performance – the number of arrests or tickets they write? What about those that do not work in high crime areas? Should nurses and doctors be penalized for the number of patients that die under their care? How do you judge the performance of firefighters? Does this mean that none should receive step or longevity raises?

      Paring down school system expenses is fine as long as parents and students understand the consequences of these moves. Considering the reaction from parents of the relatively small numbers of students affected by the fees and transportation changes this year what do you think the reaction will be when there are significant changes that will impact large numbers of students?

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  11. Concerned Citizen says

    Spiral of Decline,
    When I speak of performance measures I am not talking about the unrealistic measures esoused by no child left behind. Having worked w special needs children for many years, I knew that was ridiculous when it first came about, not to mention unfair to the teachers and children. A teacher is not going to be able to have much impact on a child during an 8 hr school day when that child is going back to an abusive, poverty-stricken crack house with drug-addicted parents.
    Teachers can still be fairly evaluated on other performance measures. Its got to start somewhere.

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  12. The Quiet Man says

    I read these post and I often wonder how much people really understand about the functions of a business. That is what our school system and county governments are. When are we going to put people in the position of running these entities that have a background and experience in managing a business? You say where are the politicians, why them they are the reason that the school system is not getting funded. We have to stop electing and appointing people to these positions that have no experience in managing a business. Until we realize that in todays economic climate we cannot continue to function the same way. Our elected and appointed individuals must come to realize that the business models of the County and School System must change. There is saying that when I was in business (had my own company for 27 years then sold it and retired) that is “IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU ALWAYS DID, THEN YOU ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU ALWAYS GOT”. Everyone should look at the upcoming election. Do you see who is running for the decision making positions. What is their business experience. They should be asked? If people are put in those positions that are willing to make the hard decisions that benefit the citizens as a whole and not worry about being reelected or reappointed I believe that the funding will be there for what is needed. Just my two cents!!!

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    • People not Products says

      This notion that governments and school systems are businesses is disgusting. Businesses produce a quantifiable, salable product. One of the most important functions of Governments and school systems are to encourage the growth and development of people. People are not products. You cannot sell a person. You cannot buy a person. As a result, the values of governments and school systems are not quantifiable and therefore cannot be run like businesses where bottom lines are more important than the services that they provide. Obviously there are limits to what a government and school system should be able to spend, but no one is suggesting that either the Harford County government or its school system should increase spending to the point of surpassing some unreasonable threshold. The taxpayers in Harford County can afford the current taxes in this county or they wouldn’t be living here. The vast majority of those taxpayers can also afford the minuscule increase in taxes that would be required in order to increase the HCPS budget to what is being requested by the superintendent. They may not want to pay more in taxes, but they can, and, considering the consequences of what will happen if they don’t, they should.

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      • the Quiet Man says

        It is great that I got a response. All you do is further solidify my point. Not all business’s produce a quantifiable, salable, product. In fact there are many business’s that produce no product for sale. They manage people and the work that people do. To say that business’s produce a product for sale just furthers my point of how little people understand about the daily functions of running a business. The time has come to look at the way these organization’s are managed with the people that are in place. The current business models must be changed to accommodate most of services that our citizens deserve. You must realize that both the school system and the County government receive income, spend the income and provide a service. They must start looking at how to maximize the benefit of each dollar of income for the citizens. As I said before “IF YOU ALWAYS DO WHAT YOU ALWAYS DID YOU ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU ALWAYS GOT. Thanks for the response!!!

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        • Concerned Citizen says

          I certainly agree with your perspective re value of applying a business model to education, as you so aptly quoted from Mark Friedman’s work in results-based accountability. The area most in need is in setting their overall goals. Three out of the four objectives identified by the Superintendent had to do with staff. Only one focused on the children, which I found to be quite revealing in terms of Harford County’s priorities. Hmmm.

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        • Trying hard not to give up says

          If you are going to run education like a business, then I should also be able to control the raw material I begin with. I don’t know of any business that would consistently try to turn out a quality product with less than the best quality raw product and stay in business. So. I should be able to refuse to have any students in my classroom who aren’t reading on grade level, have an IEP or any disability that prevents them from being a quality end product.
          We’re dealing with children, not products. I am supposed to take a hodge podge of personalities, intelligence, disabilities and parental raising and make them all succeed at a level determined by people who have been out of the classroom for years or are working from mandates developed by foundations like Bill Gates has. I’m also supposed to be grateful for the chance to do that without a raise or the support of the community these children are coming from.
          Talk about a modern day fantasy…..

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          • The Quiet Man says

            Once again people are looking at the end product in the beginning. The current Business Model needs to be addressed in order to maximize the benefit to the end product which is the children and the employees. In order for the School System to change the County Government must also change.

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          • JC says

            @The quite man, “In order for the School System to change the County Government must also change.” Now you are onto something. Nothing will change in HCPS until the current County Executive leaves office and some members of the County Council voluntarily step down or are turned away by the voters.

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      • Twenty-first century education says

        Schools are constantly changing what they do, how they provide instruction, the technology that they use, their methods of assessing, etc. If anything, the current methods that HCPS use to provide instruction to students, measure the success of those methods and then modify them as necessary are better than they have ever been, which is exactly what you would expect of an efficient business. The problem is those methods and the analysis of them are more expensive than they have ever been. You suggesting that HCPS will always produce the same results because it never does anything differently demonstrates how little you know about education.

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        • The Quiet Man says

          I will not go into detail on this forum, but I do know quite a bit about education. Your statement that “methods and the analysis of them are more expensive than they have ever been” goes to my point that the current Business Models used need to be changed in order to be able to provide the services that the citizens deserve.

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        • Mr Pilkington says

          Twenty-first century education and People not Products –

          The rest of our world except government and public schools has embraced technology and reduced administrative, service costs and production. And generally improved people’s satisfaction.

          Why is it that the Luddites in education don’t improve what they do? It’s in their interest to preserve and grow the status quo.

          Burbey is King of the Luddites.

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          • Ryan Burbey says

            Quite the contrary, I believe in and have strived to infuse technology into everything I do particularly, the classroom. However, given the level of funding for HCPS, this is very difficult.

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    • Concerned Citizen says

      That is pretty offensive and downright ignorant to put down individuals with disabilities who need special education services. Shame on you.

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      • Large Mouth Ass says

        “Citizen,” It seems you are the one who automatically assumed the comment was an insult. Perhaps your level of ignorance isn’t helping either. If you thoroughly read the question, it never insults anyone. You just ASSume it does, don’t you? I think you want it to. Am I right? I am.

        Is every “short bus” of Harford County a special needs bus? Do you specifically work for the transportation part of the schools? Are you an expert in school bus logistics? Do you come up with the routes for the schools? Do you manage the cost/savings of said school bus logistics? Perhaps the commenter is happy to see the “Short Bus” being deployed to augment a lower number of students in a route.

        Do you know a “Longer bus” weighs more? Fuel savings, plus the additional space with no seats doesn’t justify keeping a “long bus” in service.

        Shame on you for wanting people to make fun of kids with disabilities.

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        • Cdev says

          I think the implication was pretty clear. Also No short buses are not used as a cost saving measure. The buses are for transporting special needs students exclusively!

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          • Large Mouth Ass says

            Cdev, are you an employee of HCPS transportation? How do you know? Send me information to provide your facts. Your exclamation point makes it not so.

            It’s all speculation. There is no “Implication,” you cannot determine anything over text. Cheesewagon, how do you even know what that is? You think school bus? Perhaps, it really is a cheese wagon? How do you know, because this a school article? How does that make it so? Do you really know?

            People read text as if it’s speaking, moods, atmosphere, attitude, but how do you really know? I don’t know, therefore, I do not speculate. Take it for face value, a question, and no answers so far. How do we know?

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          • Cdev says

            No I do not work for them but I do work for a company in which I interact with HCPS bus drivers daily. I have asked a similar question and got this answer.

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