From Ryan Burbey:
Let me start by saying, my name is Ryan Burbey. I currently am employed by Harford County Public Schools. I am compensated on teachers’ step eight Master’s Degree plus thirty credits. This means my annual salary is $57, 026. However, I like all other teachers in Harford County have had my wages frozen, surreptitiously, for two years. As a result, I am not being paid commensurate with my ten years of experience. This information is available at http://www.hcps.org/BOE/docs/CollectiveBargaining/HCEA/HCEA_NegotiatedAgreement.pdf
I don’t really know what I would make in another county because until recently I had not considered changing districts. However, none of these facts were part of my words for the Harford County Board of Education on Monday October 4th. Nor, did I come to complain about my salary as suggested in last Wednesday’s Aegis Editorial. I came to advocate for my colleagues with significantly less years of experience and income. Although not noted in the speciously presented article delineating the long held “institutional position” of The Aegis, I came to advocate that teachers years 1-5 not only were entitled to their step increases but that it was in the best interest of all stakeholders that these salary increases were approved
Harford County risks a loss of many valuable young teachers who simply cannot afford to stay in the county. Harford County Public schools currently pays less on every step up to step five than both Cecil and Baltimore Counties. Correspondingly, housing is dramatically more expensive here than in Cecil County. The median household income is lower in Cecil and Baltimore Counties., yet, teachers in both these counties make more based on step scales. However, to really appreciate the difference in salaries you must remember that Harford County teachers have not had a raise in two years. That means that all our teachers, years one through three, with a standard professional certificate are making $41, 171. This is much lower rate than any neighboring county. In fact, it ranks 20th out of the 24 counties in the state for new teachers. It is in no way comparable to the salary of a third year teacher in any county.
What the Board of Education puts at risk is not only teachers, but also, the future growth of our county and children. Harford County does not just risk losing teachers but citizens., students and taxpayers. Why would any new teacher come to Harford County to start a family; when they cannot hope to ever get a raise in salary and can look forward to yearly cuts in benefits? Why would any young teacher choose to remain in a county where their ideas, futures, families and labors are not valued by their employer?