Advertisement
The Aegis
Harford County

Harford County Public Schools facing a teacher shortage

More than 100 Harford County Public School employees have left the classroom since the beginning of the school year, according to the teachers’ union.

From the start of this school year through winter break, 104 Harford County Public Schools employees quit their jobs, according to Harford County Education Association president Chrystie Crawford-Smick. She said this is about triple the number that would normally leave during this period.

Advertisement

Crawford-Smick said that number included 32 certificated and 72 non-certificated educators. But this trend may continue.

“There are a significant number of folks who’ve also contacted us and said that they are seriously considering not returning,” Crawford-Smick said. “And by not returning, they mean not returning to the profession.”

Advertisement

Crawford-Smick said she did not have numbers yet of how many educators quit after winter break, when coronavirus cases spread throughout the schools, prompting the district to issue temporary restrictions on spectators at school events, field trips and nonschool functions on school campuses. Those restrictions were lifted Feb. 1.

The Harford County Education Association is the bargaining union for all county public school teachers, school counselors, psychologists, media specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and hearing clinicians, and education support professionals, according to the union’s website.

The school system’s assistant superintendent for human resources, Benjamin Richardson, said that 41 teachers have resigned or retired since the start of the school year. He cited multiple reasons: “health concerns related to the pandemic, seeking other job opportunities outside of teaching, and retirement.”

Rirchardson also said that HCPS has begun recruiting and hiring teachers for the 2022-2023 school year. The application window opened Jan. 3.

“HCPS is committed to retaining its workforce by offering employees a competitive wage package, comprehensive benefits, and offering ongoing supports,” he said. “Our recruitment team plans to attend upcoming virtual and in-person recruitment events throughout the East Coast in an attempt to attract candidates and fill our needs for the upcoming school year.”

The Baltimore County Board of Education recently approved a $1000 retention/recruitment bonus for teachers. Crawford-Smick said she’s advocated for retention bonuses in the past, but that increased salaries would benefit staff more since they would affect pensions.

“In the long term, we would prefer to see money allocated to the salary scales,” she said, “but we would engage in conversations either way with the school system.”


Advertisement