Teachers end job actionCounty teacher representatives voted...


Teachers end job action

County teacher representatives voted last week to abandon a job action that called on teachers to protest the lack of a raise this school year by not volunteering for after-school and evening activities.

The job action is to end July 1, timing that drew criticism from school board chairwoman Deborah D. Kendig.

"It would have been appropriate for them to end it immediately," Kendig said. She noted that the board and teachers union have reached agreement on a salary plan for 1992-1993 that will give longevity increases to eligible teachers and 2.5 percent raises to those at the top of their salary scales.

Superintendent Michael E.Hickey has pledged to honor raises negotiated with all school employee unions for 1992-1993, regardless of the fate of a $2.1 million supplemental budget request to cover raises that the board sent the County Council May 1.

"Teachers weren't the only ones who were frustrated," Kendig said. "Parents have worked very hard all year to bury their frustrations" while volunteering for activities such as chaperoning dances or helping out with school clubs.

PTC The teachers union launched the job action last summer after budget cuts by County Executive Charles I. Ecker and the County Council left the school board without enough money to cover the 6 percent salary increase and average 2 percent longevity raises called for in the contract. No school system or county government employees received pay raises in 1991-1992.

Teacher union president James R. Swab reported that aoverwhelming majority of the 85-member representative council voted in favor of halting the job action.

"The feeling among the membership is that the process of good-faith collective bargaining has been restored," Swab said.

He said the effective date was not a factor in the discussion at a Tuesday night meeting.

"The motion put on the floor by a representative was to lift the job action July 1," Swab said.

Memorial Day closings

In observance of Memorial Day, the Howard County schools, offices of the Department of Education and Howard County Library will be closed May 25.

Promoting harmony

Better understanding among students of all races and creeds appears likely to be the county school system's top priority for the next school year.

"To improve school and school system climate with regard to interpersonal and intergroup sensitivity, understanding and communication" topped the list of four goals for the 1992-1993 school year that Superintendent Michael E. Hickey presented to the school board at Thursday's meeting.

The board is scheduled to vote on the goals at its June 11 meeting, after seeking comment from the school community.

Hickey said he plans to promote better understanding by establishing human relations committees at all schools, continuing the multicultural curriculum, expanding a student peer mediation program now in effect at Atholton High School, and improving and clarifying the system for reporting racial or ethnic incidents.

The other goals proposed by the superintendent:

* To design and implement strategies for improving performancof low-achieving students.

* To strengthen ties between school and home to support the school's work and help parents to help their children learn.

* To develop more effective ways to assess student performance.

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