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Carroll County Public Schools teachers to get 5% raise after bargaining agreements, state funding

Carroll County Public Schools teachers to get 5% raise after bargaining agreements, state funding
After ratification of agreements Wednesday night, Carroll County Public Schools employees will receive raises. This year, educators and supporters across the state rallied in Annapolis to support education funding. (Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Carroll County Public Schools ratified agreements with four of five employee bargaining units Wednesday ensuring a 3.5% raise. For teachers, that unlocks an additional 1.5% raise thanks to state funding.

The ratified agreements will be effective July 1.

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“This year’s tentative agreement was a hard fought compromise that we felt confident to present to membership. We believe our members deserve more compensation and we will work towards that next fall,” said Carroll County Education Association (CCEA) President Teresa McCulloh in an email Wednesday.

The CCEA had voted the previous night to accept the tentative agreement, 247-19.

That ratification was under special scrutiny this budget season because under newly passed state legislation, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, commonly referred to as the Kirwan Commision bill, the state agreed to kick in a 1.5% raise for teachers if the local school district could provide proof of at least a 3% raise.

With the addition of the Kirwan funding, in total it is a 5% raise for CCEA but it will vary individual to individual based on what “step” they are on in the compensation scale, chief negotiator Tony Roman explained. The 5% raise will be distributed among the steps with emphasis on increasing compensation for teachers in steps 1 through 5.

Eligible CCEA members will receive a step increase.

The starting salary for teachers is now $48,000. It was $45,787 previously. Superintendent Steve Lockard said this was “very competitive.”

“In terms of recruiting and trying to bring people to Carroll County Public Schools, I believe that’s significant,” he said.

According to the Maryland State Department of Education, Carroll ranked 12th out of 24 school districts in the state in terms of starting teacher salary for the 2018-19 school year. Only Montgomery County and Baltimore city had starting salaries of higher than $48,000, although, like Carroll, many of them will likely take advantage of the Kirwan Commission bill incentive and raise starting salaries prior to next school year.

CCEA represents about 2,100 bargaining unit members and includes teachers, guidance counselors and registered nurses.

For months, the union has advocated for increased compensation and support for teachers, speaking during public comment at BOE meetings and marching in Annapolis with educators from across the state.

CCPS thanked the Carroll County Board of Commissioners for working with them to provide local funding in the coming year’s budget.

“The final increase to the FY2020 funding was extremely instrumental in helping us settle,” said Chantress Baptist, CCPS director of human resources, as she presented on the ratifications Wednesday night. Board President Donna Sivigny and Lockard repeated the sentiment.

Commissioner Richard Weaver R- District 2, who sits with the BOE as an ex officio member, said the solution was the effect of the two boards working closely together through joint meetings.

“I appreciate the collaboration that made this happen,” he said.

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Before finalizing the county budget for FY20, the commissioners made an agreement to “smooth out” their funding for CCPS over the next five years, effectively filling a $1 million gap in the school system’s budget that CCPS said would be crucial for reaching negotiation agreements, although they were prohibited from speaking about the agreements while they were under negotiation.

The Administrators and Supervisors of Carroll County, the Food Service Association and Local 2741/Council 67 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees all now have ratified agreements with CCPS.

The Carroll Association of School Employees (CASE) — representing LPNs, clericals, instructional and special education assistants — unit remains without an agreement.

“I didn’t have anything to report this evening because we’re still negotiating — very hard,” said President Diane Deal at Wednesday’s meeting.

McCulloh extended thanks to community groups, individuals, parents and administration who showed appreciation for educators during American Education Week.

Attending CCEA members rose as they have during each meeting, wearing red.

“We stand in support this year — one more time — in appreciation for the endurance hard work, perseverance, the effort, the time that our negotiation team put in this year for the bargaining endeavors,” she said.

Roman said that this year had been harder to negotiate than other years, but did have a satisfactory outcome.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that eligible CCEA members will receive a step increase.

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