Facing 'difficult decisions,' Howard's school unions reach initial accord on contracts
By Jess Nocera
Howard County Times|
May 28, 2018 | 6:00 AM
Unions representing Howard County public schools teachers, administrators and staff have reached tentative contracts with the school system.
None of the contracts with the Howard County Education Association, the Howard County Administrators Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contain a cost-of-living adjustment and come amid what schools Superintendent Michael Martirano called “a very, very challenging budget cycle.”
“The teachers and staff are the backbone of our organization,” Martirano said. “I was not satisfied … with what we had to do.”
All of the unions received a pay increase for the first year of their two-year contracts and all employee health benefits will be maintained through 2020. The teacher’s union will also establish a benefits advisory committee to make recommendations in ensuring quality health care for all employees. The school system’s health-care fund has a $50 million deficit.
All three agreements cover the 2018-2019 school year “with limited openers for the 2019-2020 school year.” The contract wording means employee benefits will not be open for discussion but salaries and other economic provisions will be opened, according to Martirano.
After losing half of its spring break this year to snow, the Howard County Board of Education voted on Thursday to update next year’s school calendar to add another possible inclement weather day and preserve all of spring break.