Baltimore County

County teachers are unhappy, North Harford educator tells county council

A North Harford High School teacher reminded Harford County Council members of the dire circumstances his peers are facing and their unhappiness with their jobs in the county school system.

Tim Pistel was one of just two speakers Thursday at the council's first public hearing on the county's proposed 2015 budget, and one of fewer than a dozen audience members.

The hearing was held at North Harford.

The math teacher said he took a survey of teachers in his school and was shocked to find 75 percent have applied, or have considered applying, to work in another school system.

He said 40 percent also reported commuting more than 45 minutes to the school daily, which would make it tempting for them to seek jobs closer to their homes.

"These are my friends, these are my colleagues. I don't want to lose them," he said. "This is one school in the county. Don't you think it's the same everywhere else?"

He also said he is concerned about cuts to business classes, and pointed to a theory in a business textbook to demonstrate his point about getting a fair wage.

He said teachers' salaries are far lower than they ought to be and out of line with a county salary scale.

"Every day I have to drive past the emergency management building that is going up," he said. "How can we be building this building when I haven't gotten the salary that was promised me?"

The other speaker at the hearing was Alex Allman, a Harford County library board member, who urged the council to continue supporting a new Havre de Grace branch in particular.

"This project is something a lot of people are excited about," he said.

Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti was unable to make it to the hearing because of a family medical emergency.

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