Pay Hike in Store for Anne Arundel Teachers
Last week, teachers at public schools got word that they will be getting a slight increase in pay. At their Wednesday night (Sept. 20) meeting, the Board of Education approved an amended agreement with the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC). The association represents school teachers, guidance counselors and other employees in primary and secondary schools throughout the county.
In July, negotiations between TAAAC officials and the school negotiators seemed to stall, but both sides worked to reach consensus.
The agreement will provide a 1.25 percent increase for a cost-of-living allocation (COLA), which will take effect in January of 2013. It has been two years since the last COLA raise for teachers, who would also like to see “step” increases, but they are saving that fight for another day.
Right now, TAAAC representative Russell Leone, an elementary school teacher in South County, said that teachers have been “pretty positive about it because it is a step in the right direction.”
“We understand the economic situation, and we worked really hard to do what we needed to do,” Leone said.
The teacher union agreed to the compensation package during a vote at Hellas Restaurant in Millersville the night before the Board of Education meeting.
However, the votes of the Board and TAAAC are not the final step. The County Executive and County Council defunded salary improvements in the 2013 school budget and said that no pay raises would be given in Fiscal Year 2013. Some teachers are concerned that there may be an effort to block the raise before it goes into effect.
During the September 19 vote at the Board of Education, the votes fell this way:
- President Andrew Pruski (At Large)
- Vice President Theresa Milio Birge (District 32)
- Patty Nalley (At Large)
- Solon Webb (District 30)
- Nick Lafavor (Student Member)
- Deborah Ritchie (District 31)
- Stacy Korbelak (District 21)
- Kevin Jackson (At Large)
- Amelie Brandenburg (Districts 33A&B)
Leone said that step increases are still on hold.
“Absolutely, every one of us is waiting for that step [increase],” he said.
In 2009, step increases were frozen and furlough days were added to the calendar as the nationwide economy struggled.
Some older teachers nearing retirement may be holding out for a step increase so that their pensions would be based on a higher rate. In lieu of the step increase, teacher pay was restructured so that they would receive incremental increases. That 2009 agreement was not funded by the county and left teachers frustrated.
The Sept. 20 agreement also gives teachers a health care premium holiday and a two-day reduction in their work year.
In all, Anne Arundel County manages
- 75,000 students (K-12 and special schools)
- 5,000 teachers
- 78 elementary schools (PreK-5)
- 19 middle schools (6-8)
- 12 high schools (9-12)
- 3 centers providing integrated settings for children with learning disabilities
“We have continued to ask employees across our school system to make significant sacrifices in the face of rising enrollments and mandates for several years,” Board President Andrew Pruski said after the vote. “Despite the criticism from those who think otherwise, we simply must do everything we can – even in these tough financial times – to continue attract and retain a high-quality workforce as well as affirm our support for the passion and dedication with which our employees and those across our county go about their jobs every day.”