Harford schools' 73 job cuts finalized

Harford County Public Schools announced earlier this week where 73 positions have been cut across the school system to balance the Board of Education's fiscal year 2013 budget in order fund $10 million for employee raises.

The majority of the eliminated positions, which are all being "adjusted" as a result of attrition, HCPS said, came from secondary and elementary schools.

"Each year there are voluntary transfers and reassignments," wrote HCPS Communicators Director Teri Kranefeld in an e-mail Tuesday. "This year will be the same process, just reallocating resources to areas in need."

Of the 66 teaching and other in-school positions that were cut, 34 were at the secondary level, 28 at the elementary level and four in special education.

Elementary cuts

Abingdon, Church Creek, Deerfield, Meadowvale and North Harford elementary each lost one teaching position.

Emmorton, Forest Lakes, Hall's Cross Roads and William S. James elementary each lost two teaching positions.

George Lisby, Fountain Green and Magnolia elementary each lost three teaching positions.

William Paca Elementary lost 8.5 teaching positions.

Havre de Grace Elementary lost one-half of a teaching position.

No positions were eliminated from the other 20 elementary schools.

Secondary cuts

A teaching position was cut from each of the 10 high schools and one from each of the nine middle schools, a total of 19.

Eleven department chair positions have been adjusted, meaning those employees will have to reassume a teaching load, and positions previously created to replace them in the classroom have been eliminated. Also cut from the budget was the next phase-in of 11 positions to replace other department chairs in the classroom.

Also cut were an earth science academy teacher specialist, one planetarium director, one coordinator of the homeland security program and one alternative education position. The planetarium is at Aberdeen High School and homeland security program is at Joppatowne High School. Alternative education is provided at the Center for Educational Opportunity in Aberdeen.

Special ed cuts

The four special education positions cut include one central office IEP mentor, one position from Bel Air High School, one from William Paca Elementary and half a position each at George Lisby and Bakerfield elementary schools.

Central office cuts

Seven positions were cut from the HCPS central office: a mailroom clerk, a secretary II and secretary III, a purchasing assistant, a programmer, an instructional facilitator and an acting coordinator.

The cuts in existing positions, as well as most of the new positions the superintendent had requested in the 2013 budget, will leave the Harford school system with approximately 5,360 authorized full-time positions in the coming school year, according to various budget documents.

The Harford County Education Association, which represents the county's 3,200 classroom teachers and guidance counselors, declared its opposition to the position cuts earlier in June, just a few days after the union reched a tentative contract agreement that included a 1 percent cost of living increase and other incremental and longevity raises for eligible employees next school year. Similar salary deals were reached for four other unions representing most of the other school system employees.

Despite decrying the job losses, which were announced after the teachers tentative contract agreement, the contract was ratified and principals at affected schools were notified of their respective cuts in the waning days of the current school year.

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