Contract for school workers in Howard closer to approval

Plan moves to members of education association

April 11, 2002|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

The proposed contracts for Howard County school employees have made it through another round of scrutiny and await approval by the members of Howard County Education Association before becoming official.

Representatives of the association voted Tuesday in favor of the proposed three-year contracts, which would provide step increases, or raises tied to experience, next fiscal year for teachers and support personnel, but no additional raises.

During the final two years of the contract, employees would receive their step increases, as well as 4 percent and 6 percent raises.

"We recognize that the first year's not that great," association President Joe C. Staub said yesterday. "But we are hopeful that over the course of three years this is going to improve our members' pay."

A teacher with two years' experience and a bachelor's degree earns $33,160 a year. Under the current salary scale, the teachers would earn $35,538 a year by their fourth year, without cost-of-living or merit increases.

That increase is the same under the first year of the proposed salary scale, but jumps to $36,960 in the second year of the contract and $39,178 by the third year.

"I'm generally positive about it," Staub said. "We've expressed our concerns about the first year. But I think it's a very good financial settlement the second two years."

The association's membership should finish voting by April 24, Staub said.

Raymond S. Wacks, Howard County's budget director, said the proposed increase in salaries would add about $7.5 million to $8 million to the school system's proposed operating budget for next fiscal year. The current budget proposal is for $389.6 million - about $20 million more than this year's.

"The [school] board will take action on it" at tonight's meeting, said David White, the school budget director.

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