Baltimore County teachers reached a tentative agreement with the county Board of Education last night after more than eight months of frequently contentious negotiations.
Under the terms of the agreement, teachers would get the same 4 percent salary increase that other county employees are receiving this year, said Ray Suarez, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO).
Mr. Suarez said the agreement also would restore the grievance rights and a modified version of the transfer policy that the board took away from the teachers earlier this month when it put into effect a "master program," a set of work rules imposed in the absence of a contract.
The tentative agreement is subject to approval by the school board and TABCO's membership.
The board's chief negotiator, Donald Kopp, confirmed that an agreement had been reached and said his team would recommend that the board approve it at its Aug. 9 meeting.
"I'm not satisfied that we had to go back and go over language [the two sides had settled on previously]," Mr. Suarez said. "But we felt we had to get a contract because the master program had no trust."
TABCO repeatedly had asked the board to honor the 6 percent raise the two sides agreed on last December.
The board maintained, however, that the county executive and County Council had cut the education budget, nullifying the earlier agreement on a 6 percent raise.
Under the grievance policy that was restored, teachers are allowed to appeal any kind of personnel decision to an arbitrator.
Mr. Suarez would not explain what modifications had been made to the transfer policy because, he said, he had not yet informed the TABCO board of the specifics of the tentative agreement. He did say that the school system would not agree to a contract without the modifications.
The original policy, introduced last year and touted by Superintendent Stuart Berger, allowed transferred teachers to name 10 schools they preferred to work in and guaranteed the teachers a position at one of those schools.
Dr. Berger said recently, however, that the policy was not working because many transferred teachers had requested positions in the same schools -- mostly in the central area of the county.