Saying they are frustrated with the lack of progress in contract talks with the school board, the union representing Baltimore County's principals and curriculum staff asked state Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick yesterday to declare an impasse.
"We exhausted all effort," said Carol T. Shaner, executive director of the Council of Administrative and Supervisory Employees, whose 800 members have been without a contract since June 30.
Shaner said negotiations on a new one-year contract, which began in November, have stalled over the union's request for a salary scale that would link pay increases to job longevity.
"Every other employee in the Baltimore County public schools, and to my knowledge every other Baltimore County employee, has some sort of a step scale," Shaner said. Other school and county employees receive 2 percent step increases each year.
This is the first time in CASE's eight-year history that it has asked that an impasse be declared.
County Superintendent Joe A. Hairston said in a statement that he remains open to more talks. "I'm still sitting at the table, waiting to negotiate," he said.
Principals in Baltimore County earn $84,000 to $95,000; assistant principals $70,000 to $71,000; and curriculum staff members $74,000 to $79,000.
CASE says that is not enough. Baltimore County's supervisor salaries rank in the middle compared with those in other state school districts, and some veteran teachers make more than assistant principals, Shaner said.
Principals and curriculum staffers receive a cost-of-living adjustment annually. They also receive a pay raise after they have been in their jobs for five years.
Shaner said the union wants to retain the cost-of-living increases and has also proposed annual raises for the first 13 years of administrative work and every three years after the 15th year.
Also, principals and curriculum specialists would receive extra pay each year for having graduate degrees.