Annapolis High staff consider contract

The Baltimore Sun

Annapolis High School teachers will have to work year-round and stay at the struggling school for three years under a tentative agreement reached yesterday by Anne Arundel County school officials and the teachers union.

The deal makes teachers, guidance counselors, therapists and other specialists 12-month employees, as opposed to the traditional 10 months, and requires them to sign a contract to work at Annapolis High for three years.

The agreement also gives those employees $2,500 signing bonuses, an extra $3,000 for each of the three years they work at the school and up to $6,000 over three years for each year the school meets federal No Child Left Behind targets.

Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell on Jan. 24 ordered all 193 staff members to reapply for their jobs, a move called "zero-basing" that he said was needed to turn around four years of anemic academic performance and thwart a state takeover.

The school most recently failed to meet state and federal benchmarks in reading among low-income students and has battled a low graduation rate among minority students.

The stipends will help promote retention at a school that some educators have said will be a tough work environment with sinking morale, said Tim Mennuti, the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County president.

"After they zero-based the school, a lot of the people - teachers - who had been there and had worked hard, felt disrespected, like all they had done was not being valued," Mennuti said.

On Wednesday night, the board of the teachers union approved the agreement, which has been in the works since March 12. The school board is expected to vote on it next week or at its May 2 meeting. The terms of the agreement would be effective July 1.

School spokesman Bob Mosier said that with the deal struck, the district can now move forward with hiring new staff and implementing reform programs at the school.

"We're satisfied with the agreement," he said. "The three-year thing was most important to that. For [reform] to really work at Annapolis, stability was key."

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