The author is a veteran Harford County Public Schools teacher, who requested anonymity out of concerns about possible professional reprisals. The Dagger has verified the author’s identity.
Teachers understand that America is in a deep recession and budgets are tight. We understand that the county does not have the funds for the fourth year in a row to honor our contracts and pay our scheduled step increases. While it will be very difficult for most to pay the increased health care benefits next year, we are grateful to teach in a county where most of our students want to learn. We are more then willing to do our patriotic part to work tirelessly for future generations of Americans.
What we don’t understand and find incredibly disrespectful is while we are being asked to sacrifice, money is being thrown out the window. The secondary teaching force will be reduced by fifteen teachers next year with more cuts at the elementary level. At the same time the school system just spent over $600,000 dollars to purchase a computer system, performance matters, to grade tests. We don’t understand why $727,992 dollars will be spent over the next four years on a program called Model Department Chairs. Frankly, our department chairs already know what they are supposed to do.
We don’t understand why $399,615 dollars will be spent to “ensure teachers are able to access timely data and resources.” We already have at least seven ways to access more data then we know what to do with.
Empower your teachers by respecting them – if we need to cut the budget let’s cut the budget – not the teachers. The fact that the Superintendent could have been eligible to receive a bonus as high as $19,000 this year, while teachers are facing rising health care and pension deductions is perplexing. Custodial and facilities staff, all ready working on a skeletal crew, are also being cut to hired more three piece suites who never see a student or touch a broom all day.
We do not understand why capable and qualified candidates are passed over for Principle and Assistant Principle positions while less qualified people are promoted or imported from Baltimore County. This strategy allows only those people who will act as puppets for the Superintendent to be in positions of authority.
We don’t understand the witch hunt to place as many teachers as possible on “plans of assistance.” I have a few great plans of assistance: hire more teachers, cut class sizes, reduce the number of different class preparations per teacher and allow teachers and administrators to hold students accountable for their education instead of firing their Principles.
Mr. Tomback has made a mockery of our counties educational system. A system which, has historically outperformed Baltimore County across the board, in every tested area and for less money per student. A system which has produced successful astronauts, scientists, and teachers. His decisions on hiring, firing, and what to spend money on are illogical and counter productive. The Superintendant and his new hire Mr. Lawrence don’t even live in Harford County. Would we hire a County Executive that lived in Baltimore County?
If the people of Libya can find the courage to get rid of Muammar Gaddafi, I would hope that the Harford County Board of Education can come up with the guts to get rid of Dictator Tomback. Your troops are demoralized and fading fast so I hope you act soon. Thank God for elected school boards.