School service union ratifies 3-year pact Nurses would get $5,000 pay raise

February 07, 1993|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

Harford County's school nurses will get a $5,000 raise over three years if the school board approves their contract.

The county's 45 nurses, along with other members of the union, the Harford County Educational Services Council, overwhelmingly ratified a three-year contract Thursday night, said union President Linda C. Hash.

The union has a diverse membership of 500 employees. Salaries range from about $10,000 for first-year instructional assistants to over $25,000 for full-time secretaries at the top grade.

Cindy Veidt, a Harford school nurse for about nine years, said school nurses have a tremendous amount of responsibility.

Mrs. Veidt, who works at 1,325-student Homestead/Wakefield Elementary, said nurses provide information for teachers and may teach health classes. Nurses also are expected to monitor children's illnesses such as asthma or diabetes.

Mrs. Veidt also is president of Harford's School Health Services, a networking organization for nurses and health technicians.

"School nurses need to be on their toes; we make decisions all the time," she said.

Under the current contract, nurses receive $15,640 to $20,404 a year, depending on how long they have worked for the school system. After 19 years, they receive a longevity raise of $550.

School nurses in surrounding school systems make considerably more. In neighboring Cecil County, for example, they receive $19,190 to $25,265, said Greg Zych, a spokesman for Cecil schools.

In Harford, only nurses would receive a substantial raise. The union's other employees, like the rest of the school system's 3,600 employees, would get a 3 percent across-the-board raise and an annual step increase.

The increase, included in the proposed operating budget for next year,needs school board approval. It would cost the school system about $3 million. Only executive staff will not automatically get raises.

Mrs. Hash, the union president, said the members also won "more concise" wording in their contracts, including clearer language on promotions and evaluations.

"I'm glad the contract was ratified, but 3 percent does not represent very much for most of the employees I represent," she said.

Teachers "overwhelming" approved their contract Jan. 28, said Jean R. Thomas, president of the Harford County Education Association. HCEA represents about 1,500 of the county's 2,200 teachers.

Teachers, who make an average of $35,642 a year, qualify for annual step raises if they have worked 15 years or fewer.

"We believe it will be one of the best settlements in the state in terms of money," Mrs. Thomas said. The contract, expected to be approved by the school board tomorrow night, is for three years, but pay is renegotiated each year.

The teachers' contract also includes major concessions from the school system. For the first time, teachers will get about $785 for some after-school academic activities, Mrs. Thomas said. In the past, teachers generally had been paid only for after-school sports activities.

The contract specifies that part-time teachers will get first crack at full-time posts, Mrs. Thomas said.

Two other unions represent school employees. While they are not negotiating this year, they will also get the 3 percent and step raises.

The Association of Public School Administrators and Supervisors Harford County, which represents about 120 mid-level managers, including principals, is in the fourth year of its five-year contract. It will not begin negotiations until November for a contract to take effect July 1, 1994, union President William M. Ekey said.

Local 2471 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will not go into negotiations again until January 1994, said Local President Ronald A. Garner. That union, which is in the second year of a three-year contract, represents about 580 school employees, including custodians.

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