Some Howard teachers stage work-to-contract action

Howard County teachers and support professionals from six schools will stage a work-to-contract action this week in an effort to bring attention to the contract provisions proposed by the Howard County Education Association.

Following the end of their scheduled hours Wednesday and Thursday, teachers will leave school together to show support for their contract proposals, according to a media release from HCEA.

Teachers taking part in the action include those from Burleigh Manor Middle, Centennial High, Wilde Lake Middle, Wilde Lake High, Mount Hebron High, and Bollman Bridge Elementary. No compensable activities, such as coach or after-school interventions will be affected, according to the release.

"We urge our Board of Education to engage on the issues that really matter for educators and students, like adequate time to prepare quality instruction and increased access to technology," HCEA president Paul Lemle said in a statement. "Our actions are intended to call attention to the need to resolve these issues for the benefit of students, families, and educators."

In an email, Lemle said HCEA will reassess the status of negotiations following the work-to-contract action.

If no agreement is reached by mid-May, other actions will be considered by HCEA, according to the release.

HCEA and the school system have been at odds over teacher compensation since Superintendent Renee Foose introduced her initial budget proposal in February.

In an email, Foose pointed out that the county executive and County Council have fully funded the school system's budget request, which includes $21.4 million for salary increases, representing up to a five percent increase for teachers.

"This is the highest commitment to teachers that we know of across the state of Maryland," she said. "I have promised our teachers that I will continually advocate for them to be well-paid for the quality work that they're doing, and this commitment from our Board and the county government demonstrates that we are all on the side of teachers."

The budget originally called for a 0.5 percent cost-of-living increase, but no step increase on the salary scale. Throughout the course of negotiations, teachers are now looking at a five percent salary increase.

But HCEA now has its eyes set on a multi-year agreement for predictability and future financial stability not only for salaries, but health care expenses as well, Lemle said.

"We want our members to know two to three years out what their salaries will be," he said.

In addition to the multi-year agreement on salaries, HCEA has proposed contract provisions that it says would provide more time to create better lessons for students, improve access to technology for support professionals, and provide training and support material to teachers for new initiatives like the Common Core standards and the Race to the Top evaluation system.

According to the HCEA release, Howard County teachers work about 11 hours at school along with two more at home each day. Not including weekends, most teachers work 60 hours a week.

The HCEA proposals can be viewed online at

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