Harford teacher contract negotiations under way, but no proposals yet

Randy Cerveny, president of Harford of the Harford County Education Association, the Harford County Public Schools employee bargaining unit that represents more than 3,200 teachers and guidance counselors, said Tuesday contract negotiations for next year are under way but "no proposals [have been] exchanged."

On Monday night, the Harford Board of Education met in closed session to discuss negotiations. While Cerveny couldn't divulge details of the meeting, he did say that the HCEA and the school system "met for the first time last week" to begin talks with teacher contract negotiations.

The one-time, $1,250 stipend or bonus County Executive David Craig proposed in November for every county government and school employee was not brought up Monday, according to Cerveny. The union has not yet agreed to accept the bonus for those whom it represents.

Nothing was decided during either meeting with the school board, Cerveny continued, saying that "several meetings" between the union and the school system are scheduled before the Christmas holiday to "work toward new contract language."

According to school system Communications Manager Teri Kranefeld, HCEA has a signed, ratified agreement with the board covering the current school year, with fiscal items up for renegotiation as a result of the county's earlier budget actions.

But the renegotiation has been at a stalemate, and Harford teachers have received none of the 3 percent cost of living raises and yearly increment raises they negotiated with the school system last winter. Funding for the raises was not provided by Harford County Executive David Craig and the Harford County Council.

When asked what he and the union hope to accomplish during the round of talks with the school system, Cerveny said that "financial aspects" were on the forefront and they want to "determine what the financial situation in the county looks like."

HCEA has been waiting for the Harford County Council's decision on the one-time bonus, Cerveny said, before the proposal is negotiated further with the school system.

"The council' decision is the one that will make a difference if that money becomes available," he said. The county council held a public hearing on the bonus legislation Tuesday evening. For updates, check with http://www.exploreharford.com.

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