Pay Negotiations Loom For Five School Unions

Talks To Begin Despite Lack Of Budgeted Money

April 19, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff writer

The school budget for 1993 provides no money for raises, yet negotiations are about to begin with the five unions representing the district's 2,000 employees.

Something -- or someone -- has to give.

"There's currently no money in the (1993) budget for salary increases," said William Hyde, assistant superintendent for administration.

"If we go to the table, and it's negotiated, we have to go back to the county and say we need more money, or we have to go back to the budget and realign it," Hyde said.

The Board of Education is planning to ask county commissioners for more money, even before salary increases are negotiated.

The board will meet at 8 a.m. Wednesday at its offices on North Court Street to discuss asking the commissioners to make up some or all of the approximately $2.5 million in statecuts for 1993, said Cheryl A. McFalls, board president. Most of those cuts are to transportation.

Normally, negotiations start in the fall and would be finished by now, Hyde said, and would have been built into the original budget proposal.

"Because of the economic climate at the county, state and national level, the uncertainty made itnot seem wise for either party to come to the table," Hyde said.

Cindy Cummings, president of the Carroll County Education Association, the teachers' union, agreed with the rationale. She said the administration and board have been frank that the budget would be proposed with no raises, but that they would negotiate salaries after the state funding issue was clearer.

"They didn't want to show their hand," she said, by building in an amount for raises before negotiations even started. "They explained that up front."

Despite the late start, Cummings said she expected a contract to be negotiated by the end of May.

"I think we're planning on a short, intense negotiation period," she said.

For the current year, teachers and staff got no raises except for step increases for another year of experience.

Negotiations began this month for the union representing custodians, maintenance staff and bus drivers, Hyde said. The four other unions arefor teachers; administrators; food service workers; and clerical staff and teaching assistants.

Wednesday's board meeting is open to the public, from whom McFalls hopes to hear. She said she also will seeks views of the administration and union representatives.

Most ofthe cut in state money is for transportation, which is losing $2 million of its total $8 million budget, unless the county restores some of it.

Superintendent R. Edward Shilling has said that unless somemoney is restored, students and parents will see changes in the level of bus service.

McFalls said she also hopes the board will discuss whether to ask the commissioners to restore the second furlough day for staff. Final figures on state aid for the 1992 budget show cutsare not as severe as originally expected, she said.

Teachers are scheduled to take the day off -- without pay -- June 16, but that is the day they normally use to fill in the students' cumulative records, Cummings said.

Cummings said that she hopes the commissioners restore that day for teachers, although commissioners have said they'renot inclined to do so.

If they won't, Cummings said, the union isasking that the Board of Education allow early dismissal of studentsduring final exams so that teachers have the afternoons free to workon records.

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