As a lifelong resident of Harford County and teacher in its schools, it saddens me to observe the county council meetings where year after year education is neither prioritized nor fully funded ("Harford school budget cuts 46 positions," June 19). It infuriated me to read the words of our county executive disrespecting those in my profession.
With frustration I sit at board of education meetings where decisions are not made to support teachers — the backbone of our educational system. With amazement I read editorials in the newspapers calling teachers money-hungry. After 24 years of being deeply committed to the success of my students, I feel nothing but dismay at this point in my career.
I am thankful to have a job and benefits in these economic times. However, I feel that, decade after decade, Harford County's leaders and board of education are taking advantage of educators' commitment to education and children. We traditionally have been a top-ranked county educationally, but we rank near the bottom on the scale of salaries.
It is personally disheartening to see that my take home pay is less than what it was five years ago. I am paid for 190 days of service. Each day constitutes seven and a half hours on duty. My family will attest that my day is actually comprised of 10 to 12 hours of work, with additional amounts of time put in each weekend.
The county is getting a lot of bang for their buck and always has. Of course I'd like to ease the strain on my family's budget with a salary increase. But the more important factor to consider is whether the county will attract fewer and fewer of the high-quality teachers we need. If not, over time our standing as a top-ranked county system will erode and that will in turn produce less well-educated citizens in our communities.
It is time to stop taking advantage of teachers' dedication to their work and instead demonstrate the value of this profession for our world's future by committing to fully funding the education budget each and every year.