Unions, school board reach a tentative pact

February 25, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

The Howard County school board and unions representing education department employees have tentatively agreed to salary increases that would add a total of $8.3 million to next year's proposed $213.5 million operating budget.

Teachers, support personnel, custodians and other maintenance workers would get a 3 percent salary increase plus a longevity raise if the agreements are approved next month by members of the three unions.

Although negotiations have not been finalized, the agreements were announced at yesterday's board meeting to give education officials time to amend the proposed budget before it is presented to County Executive Charles I. Ecker by March 15.

Union leaders were satisfied with the agreement. "We feel neither side had a victory, and it was a do-able judgment," said Marius Ambrose, a teachers' union negotiator. "It's not a glorious settlement, but it's not something terrible. . . . That usually means it's a good settlement."

The one-year agreements would take effect July 1, the first day of the next fiscal year.

Last year, teachers got a 3 percent across-the-board raise with no longevity increases, while secretaries and other support personnel received a 5 percent across-the-board raise, also with no longevity increases. Maintenance workers, groundskeepers and janitors received a 3 percent cost-of-living increase.

In other business at the board meeting:

* Superintendent Michael E. Hickey announced that his staff would be looking at alternatives to make up snow days.

He said he wants to see whether the county could extend the length of its school days to make up for the six days of school missed because of inclement weather.

Schools were closed for nine days because of bad weather, but three make-up days had been built into the academic calendar.

On Wednesday, the state Board of Education voted to allow Washington County to make up its snow days by extending the length of the school day, Mr. Hickey said.

* Board members expressed their concern about the increasing number of fights and assaults occurring at high school athletic events. There have been more than 10 incidents in which parents and players have reportedly hit coaches and players have attacked other players.

"I know we have [disciplinary] guidelines, but I want to make sure they're being followed," board member Susan Cook said.

Board members blamed the problem on parents and violence in sports nationally.

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