One of those participating in the protest, Seth Ranneberger, a third-year teacher at Patterson Mill High School, said he is about to get second job to support his family.

"It's a little bit of a struggle," Ranneberger said. He commented that it's becoming difficult paying the family's bills.

Cayce Thomas, a first-year teacher at Edgewood Middle School, said she joined in part because she feels like longer serving teachers in particular are being unfairly treated.

"It's not fair they're getting paid the same amount as I am," she said.


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Thomas said she was proud of Ring Factory for making a stand.

Sharon Oliver, who has taught 14 years at Edgewood Middle, said teachers are "feeling like they're treating us like second class citizens," referring to the county government.

The county and school system continue to raise the bar as far as yearly goals and assessment scores, Oliver said, but do not adequately compensate the teachers.

"Morale is low" among teachers and they don't feel appreciated, Oliver added.

Dru Herbert, who has taught at Bel Air Middle School for 15 years, said the protest is "only going to get bigger."

Harford County Executive David Craig doesn't make education funding a priority, Herbert said.

Those joining in the protest came and went as they pleased. Only 50 to 60 were left by 4:30.

"This isn't over," Randy Cerveny, president of the Harford County Education Association, the union representing the teachers, said.

Cerveny, who organized the Ring Factory protest the previous evening, said the teachers are "planning to do what they have to do" and are "tired of working for free."

Threats to leave

The union leader said Craig, a retired teacher and school administrator, isn't making public education a priority.

"If education is not funded adequately," Cerveny said, "[teachers] will find other jobs elsewhere," such as Cecil or Baltimore County.

Cerveny and independent financial consultant R.J. Pellicoro appeared before the county's board of education May 21, presenting Pellicoro's report on where the county government could find money to fund salary increases for teachers.

The HCEA president described the board's response to the report as "disdain" and said the teachers are "upset" that the board did not advocate for them.

Earlier in the day, Cerveny said in a phone interview that the teachers were taking a stand not only against a lack of salary increases, but also the additional workday on the school calendar year.

Cerveny wouldn't expand on the latter issue, except to say it "has to do with lack of negotiations."