County teach­ers vote to ac­cept new con­tract with­out step in­creases

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­pub.com

Ap­par­ently, the anger among Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic School teach­ers to­wards the loss of step in­creases wasn’t that wide­spread.

The teach­ers voted to ac­cept the new con­tract worked out be­tween Bal­ti­more

County Pub­lic Schools and the Teacher’s As­so­ci­a­tion of Bal­ti­more County (TABCO) by a mar­gin off 77 per­cent in fa­vor, and 22 per­cent op­posed.

Some teach­ers had ex­pressed dis­plea­sure dur­ing

the vot­ing pe­riod (June 1925) over los­ing pay “step in­creases” and get­ting a 1 per­cent cost of liv­ing raise (COLA) in its place.

“Step in­creases” are a salary scale in which teach­ers are paid more each year, based on their de­gree (Bach­e­lor’s, Master’s, Doc­tor­ates).

As TABCO saw it, 1 per­cent was bet­ter than noth­ing, which the teach­ers could have ended up with.

TABCO told the teach­ers the Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil

pro­vided the same ex­act bud­get as last year (the bare min­i­mum the law al­lows).

Ac­cord­ing to TABCO in its pre­sen­ta­tion of the pro­posed con­tract to its mem­bers, the county coun­cil was push­ing Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools to have no raises, but TABCO fought for the 1 per­cent COLA.

“Bal­ti­more County Po­lice and Fire get no raises un­til June 30, 2021, the doc­u­ment read. “Our raise takes ef­fect July 1 2020.”

“COLA’s are bet­ter for ca­reer earn­ings then step in­creases.”

Depend­ing on se­nior­ity and de­gree, some teacher may have al­ready reached the end of their step in­creases.

Teach­ers with a Bach­e­lor of Arts de­gree top out after 10 years; teach­ers with doc­tor­ates get their last step in­crease on their 30th year.

Other key points of the con­tract:

Teach­ers can opt to have their salary spread over 12 months, in­stead of the cur­rent 10 months, if they chose. That op­tion will be avail­able in two years.

No fur­loughs or lay­offs in 2020-21;

A new cat­e­gory of ‘as­sault leave’ for ed­u­ca­tors who are as­saulted on the job. They will re­ceive full pay, and not charged sick leave;

Ad­di­tion­ally, teach­ers in­jured on the job will re­ceive full pay for up to 12 months, with­out be­ing charged sick leave. Teach­ers in­jured on the job and out for more than 12 months will be on a leave of ab­sence re­ceiv­ing worker’s com­pen­sa­tion;

Teach­ers can­not be called upon to search for weapons, haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als or the source of a sus­pected fire;

Manda­tory meet­ings to dis­cuss sig­nif­i­cant dis­tur­bances in school, to iden­tify causes, and steps to pre­vent fu­ture re­cur­rences;

If teach­ers are threat­ened, wit­ness vi­o­lence, ot see stu­dents ar­rested, ad­min­is­tra­tors will meet with them to de­ter­mine if they need men­tal health sup­port;

To­tal ban on work­place bul­ly­ing;

Teach­ers may par­tic­i­pate in union ac­tiv­ity with­out re­tal­i­a­tion.

Vot­ing be­gan on Fri­day and will end on Thurs­day.

If teach­ers re­ject the pro­posed con­tract, an “im­passe” could be de­clared which would re­sult in a new con­tract worked out by a third party.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MARY­LAND PATCH

Bal­ti­more County Pub­lic Schools teach­ers dis­agree on new con­tract ahead of a crit­i­cal vote this week.

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