Howard County teachers and instructional support personnel have overwhelmingly approved tentative salary agreements for the 1997-1998 school year.
The agreements -- which give most teachers and other employees raises of at least 3.5 percent -- were backed by 88 percent of teachers and 92 percent of support personnel, according to Karen Dunlop, president of the Howard County Education Association.
Sixty-one percent of the teachers and 64 percent of the support personnel voted, Dunlop said.
School and union officials have characterized the raises as "modest" and say they are essential to prevent salaries of Howard teachers from continuing to lag behind those of nearby school systems.
The school board and union are expected to sign the agreements May 30 -- when the board approves its operating budget for 1997-1998 and is certain that the county executive and County Council have set aside enough money to finance the raises.
If county officials don't provide enough money, the board would have to cut funds from other areas to pay for the salary increases or renege on the new agreement -- which board members have vowed not to do. In 1990, however, the board was not able to fund raises for the second year of a two-year contract.
Under the new agreement, most of the county's 2,999 teachers and other certified instructional employees will receive a longevity increase next school year, plus raises averaging 2 percent.
Teachers with more than 18 years of experience -- most of whom will not receive longevity increases -- will receive an additional pay raise.
The agreement means most teachers will receive pay raises ranging from 4 percent to 7 percent, depending on years of experience.
Most of the school system's 921 educational support personnel -- including instructional assistants and secretaries -- will receive a longevity raise and a 1 percent across-the-board increase.
Support personnel with more than 13 years of experience -- all of whom would not receive a longevity increase -- will receive an extra 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise.
Pub Date: 3/25/97