Teachers accept contract, drop suit Settlement provides their first raise in 3 years, pending budget approval

September 09, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers and Consella A. Lee | Carol L. Bowers and Consella A. Lee,Staff Writers

Anne Arundel County teachers voted overwhelmingly yesterday to drop a lawsuit seeking money lost when they were furloughed for four days in 1992, in exchange for a new contract that will give them their first pay increases in three years.

The contract, passed by a vote of more than 30 to 1, should be submitted to the Board of Education for ratification Sept. 13, said Thomas Paolino, president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County.

The contract calls for granting teachers a 2 percent raise on Jan. 1, 1994, and a 4 percent raise on July 1, 1994.

"I think the vote tonight showed people appreciated the progress we were able to make in reaching a settlement," Mr. Paolino said.

Mr. Paolino said TAAAC's decision to drop its suit is contingent on the County Council approving money for the July 1994 raise at budget time next year.

The council is not legally bound to fund contracts negotiated between the teachers' union and school board.

School employees have not received raises since July 1990.

Although the contract was negotiated with the teachers' union, it will apply to all employees.

Teachers leaving yesterday afternoon's closed-door meeting at Severn River Junior High School seemed delighted with the new contract.

"I'm very pleased, because I'm one of those teachers who hasn't had a raise since I don't know when," said Nancy Parker Flythe, a fourth-grade teacher at Sunset Elementary in Pasadena.

"We haven't had a raise for a long time," said George Schmidt, a fifth-grade teacher at Woodside Elementary in Glen Burnie, "and if we get this raise, it will indicate to us that the political community is standing behind public education.

"Teachers need this kind of psychological support as much as they need economic support," he added.

The combined raises will cost the school system about $12.5 million -- approximately $2.5 million for the January raise and $10 million for the July raise.

Those figures do not include increases in retirement benefits or Social Security costs, said Jim Goodwyn, lead budget analyst for Anne Arundel County public schools.

The average salary of a county teacher this year is about $H $40,500, he said. That teacher would be making $41,310 after the first raise, then $42,960 after the second.

The raises became an emotional issue after teachers did not receive a pay increase in June, even though the County Council had included money for one in its 1993-1994 budget.

Talks between the teachers'union, which represents 3,900 teachers, and the Board of Education broke down in March over salaries and the question of whether teachers should be notified a student with a record of violent behavior joins their classroom.

PD The contract included a provision calling for such notification.

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