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Letter: Teachers union, school board at odds

LETTER TO THE AEGIS

5:26 PM EDT, April 12, 2012

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Editor:

Harford County's students and teachers deserve better than this.

The teachers of Harford County have been in negotiations with Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) since November 2010 for their contract, which began in July 2011.

On April 2, 2012, the Public School Labor Relations Board found that HCPS had been negotiating in bad faith with the Harford County Education Association, which represents the county's teachers. The Labor Board ordered the two parties to continue to negotiate in good faith. The Labor Board found that HCPS failed to honor parts of the previously negotiated contract agreement with the teachers and failed to follow the agreed upon advertised salary schedule.

Instead of honoring the decision of the Labor Board, Harford County Public Schools filed an appeal of the Labor Board's decision to the circuit court. To date, Harford County Public Schools has spent in excess of $300,000 on attorney fees instead of meeting its commitments to bargain in good faith and follow accepted labor practices.

HCPS should return to the negotiating table and enter into good faith negotiations with its employees. To do otherwise would continue to heighten mistrust, lower teacher morale, and shift the focus away from where it should be-our students. HCEA wants to create a collaborative relationship with HCPS to improve and enhance the learning environment for our students in Harford County.

Parents and community members should contact your HCPS Board of Education member and tell them to keep their promise to the teachers of Harford County. Our children deserve a school system focused on student success rather than avoiding responsibility.

Randy Cerveny

President of the Harford County Education Association (HCEA)