From the Harford County Education Association:
Superintendent Canavan has recommended cuts, which include eliminating all swimming programs, closing HCPS pools and eliminating 23 teaching positions. However no cuts to the robust HCPS administrative bureaucracy were recommended. While we understand decreases in enrollment will necessitate some cuts to teaching positions, we believe it is crucial that HCPS create a more efficient and efficacious leadership structure. Without cuts to administrative positions, it will be impossible for HCPS to craft a sustainable budget, which honors its contractual obligations to teachers and other staff. Likewise, creating a sustainable budget will ensure that HCPS can continue to meet its obligations to HCPS students and the Harford County community without disruptions in services.
HCEA has consistently advocated for the elimination of the instructional facilitator position. The vast majority of teachers do not view this position as an effective professional development conduit. HCEA believes there are many more efficient and efficacious means of providing quality professional development. Currently, instructional facilitators are used almost exclusively in an evaluative capacity. This is a role that should be and previously has been performed primarily by principals. While some elementary principals have argued that the increasing workload prevents them from effectively performing evaluative duties, this argument rings hollow given the fact that secondary principals are able to perform the same evaluative tasks without instructional facilitators to assist them. No elementary principal is responsible for more teachers than the secondary principals. Likewise, the ratio of administrators to teachers in elementary schools is not higher than the ratios in secondary schools. Setting aside all arguments about the usefulness or effectiveness of the instructional facilitator position, HCPS simply cannot afford to continue to spend $1.34 million dollars each year on this redundant position.
HCEA also strongly believes that cuts within the central office of HCPS must come before cuts are made to teaching positions. There are currently at least 150 HCPS administrative employees assigned to central office. This weighty bureaucracy comes at a cost of over $14 million per year for salaries alone. While some positions have been cut over the years, the savings from these cuts have largely been absorbed by pay increases for remaining administrative staff. In fiscally lean years like we have been experiencing, it is imperative that all positions, roles and expenditures within our government agencies are re-examined. Cuts to teaching positions without appropriate cuts to central office administration are indefensible.
I, HCEA leadership and all HCEA members, realize how tough these budget decisions may be. We do not take lightly the sacrifices, which must be made by all stakeholders. We believe that through cooperation and communication, HCPS, Harford County Government and HCEA can continue to improve our schools while simultaneously increasing efficiency. We applaud the work county government has done to find efficiencies and simply ask the Harford County Board of Education to do the same. In order to recruit and retain quality teachers, HCPS must prioritize honoring contractual obligations to our teachers. Please email asking the Harford County Board of Education to preserve teaching positions and programing by making cuts to the HCPS administrative bureaucracy.
Nancy Reynolds (Nancy.Reynolds@hcps.org)
Robert Frisch (Robert.Frisch@hcps.org)
Joseph Hau (Joseph.Hau@hcps.org)
Thomas Fitzpatrick (Thomas.Fitzpatrick@hcps.org)
Rachel Gauthier (Rachel.Gauthier@hcps.org)
Laura Runyeon (Laura.Runyeon@hcps.org)
Joseph Voskuhl (Joseph.Voskuhl@hcps.org)
Jansen Robinson (Jansen.Robinson@hcps.org)
Alfred Williamson (Alfred.Williamson@hcps.org)
Barbara Canavan (Barbara.Canavan@hcps.org)
Genae Hatcher (Genae.Hatcher@hcps.org)
We anticipate action on the FY17 HCPS Budget at the Monday June 13th Harford County Board of Education meeting. Please attend the meeting and make your voice heard.