Salary Dispute Worsens

Teachers' Action Worries Principals

June 12, 1991|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff writer

County high school principals, facing the prospective loss of teachers volunteering to help at dances, ball games and other after-school events next year, met Tuesday with Superintendent Michael E. Hickey to ask: Now what do we do?

Some principals are angry enough to consider a job action of their own after two years of salary disappointments, said David A. Bruzga, Hammond High principal and organizer of the meeting with Hickey.

"Last year, we were told to be patient. It was a year of transition. We'd just have to bite the bullet and we'd catch up in the remaining years of the contract. Now we're in the second year and facing a (pay) freeze. So, yes, there are some disturbed administrators," Bruzga said.

He referred to elimination of the index, a multiplier of teacher salaries used to calculate principals' salaries, from the 1990-1993 contract between the school board and Howard County Education Association, which represents principals as well as teachers. The index was replaced by a separate salary schedule that left some principals and supervisors with just 2 percent raises in 1990-1991.

Bruzgasaid the meeting with Hickey would probably include a discussion of job actions, but he did not want to discuss details until after talking with the superintendent. The session was still going on at press time Tuesday.

Elementary school principals "are not planning to curtail any activities" next year to protest their frozen salaries, saidMarianne S. Pfeiffer, principal of Longfellow elementary school and president of the 58-member Howard County Association of ElementarySchool Administrators.

Middle and high school principals and assistant principals belong to the 50-member county secondary school administrators association. But Marshall Peterson, Gateway School principal and association president, distanced the group from the principals' meeting with Hickey.

The secondary administrators association has not discussed job actions nor possible crowd-control problems if teachers don't participate in after-school activities, Peterson said.

Teachers in seven of the eight high schools have voted to stop volunteering for extra activities in 1991-1992, said James R. Swab, presidentof the Howard County Education Association. Teachers in 20 of the 28elementary schools and nine of the 11 middle schools have taken similar votes, he said.

Wilde Lake High School teachers left it to individual teachers whether to volunteer for after-school and weekend activities such as proms, graduations, extended-day field trips and science fairs, Assistant Principal Barry Odell reported Tuesday.

Swabsaid two elementary school faculties made similar decisions, but declined to identify the schools.

The teachers' planned job action isto protest County Executive Charles I. Ecker's budget cuts that leftthe school board without enough money for the 6 percent raises called for in 1991-1992 by the teacher contract.

Ecker invited Swab, Hickey and school board Chairman Deborah D. Kendig last week to meet with him in an attempt to smooth relations, but the executive admitted he had neither money nor promises to offer.

"I can't offer anything. There's no money this year. The only thing I can offer is hope that money will be available next year," Ecker said.

Asked what it would take for teachers to reconsider their job action, Swab replied, "A commitment to honor the third year of the contract would be a position I could take back" to teacher representatives.

The contract calls for a 6 percent increase in 1992-1993, which would mean a 12 percent raise to make up for the absence of any pay increase in 1991-1992plus restoration of additional pay for experience, also eliminated in this year's budget cuts.

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