Editor's note: What follows are some of the answers we received to our Question of the Month: "Should the Board of Education and County Council grant the school employees a raise?"
FREEZE IS APPROPRIATE
From: Norman Pospisil
Patricia Stilwell's letter, "Teachers have it good," Harford County Sun, April 7, hit the proverbial "bull's eye." Most teachers fail to observe the time off and benefits.
In this hour of our economy, I believe a freeze is appropriate. Any extra money should be spent on supplies or equipment to benefit the students.
TIGHTEN YOUR BELTS
From: Pat Meehan
Deny the raises this year. Please, teachers, think of the children before you have a work slow-down! We need you all and appreciate your hard work -- tighten your budgets at home. The economy will get betterand future raises will be yours. Be glad to be working -- many white-collar workers are being laid off and cannot find work.
THEY DESERVETHE MONEY
From: Angela Wright
We should grant the 8 percent raise as we promised. I always say teachers deserve all themoney they can earn. How many of us want the responsibility of educating and molding the character of our children?
We have two teachers in our family. God bless all of you.
HONOR TEACHERS' CONTRACT
From: Leigh Walker
I am writing in response to the question of the month in the Harford County Sun, April 7. I say "Yes!" to the question.
As a school media specialist in one of the elementary schools in the county and as a parent of one elementary school child and one middle school child, I think that in order to have well-trained, capable employees, the Board of Education and County Council need to honor the contract calling for a raise this year. I know many school teachers and other professionals in education can expect to earn more in neighboring counties.
I feel that our school employees are a hard-working group of people who are required to spend many hours outside the classroom to prepare for classes and to maintain a level of excellence in the classroom. I feel that the HCEA union backed (County Executive) Eileen Rehrmann as the county executive candidate who would support education and its employees.
We appreciate your editorial on April 7 that calls for the County Council and the board to honor the third year of our contract. If there is no raise, who is to say this will not happen again next year?
One thing you stated I feel needs to be clarified. The average school teacher makes $36,000 a year, but you neglected to say that the average teacher needs to work 15 years to achieve this pay level. In 1987, when I began my career as a professional in the school system, the pay for a beginning professional with a master's degree was $19,500. This is a far cry from $36,000.
CONTEMPT FOR TEACHERS
From: Gregory Lauck
Havre de Grace
When the Harford County Board of Education signed contracts granting employees raises of 7.6, 7.8, and 8 percent over a three-year period, 1989 to 1991, it was competing with other jurisdictions such as Anne Arundel County, which contracted and paid 9 percent a year for each of three years, 1988 to 1990.
Some people obviously valuetheir children, their school employees, and their word in the form of a contract agreement more than other people do.
There are small-minded individuals in every community who "have to wonder how much money teachers think they should earn." They ask the rhetorical question because they really don't carewhat the answer is. They are firmly convinced that teachers, school employees, and probably all public employees are overpaid because they have it too easy, work less than private sector employees, and aren't as valuable to begin with.
The mentality that breeds contempt for the public employee leads some to feel that contracts should be thrown out and school employees made to pay for the mistakes and contempt of others.