Teacher raises are opposed by Anne Arundel county executive

October 31, 2003|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens says she opposes the school board's proposal to give teachers a 1 percent pay raise beginning in January - a concession it made after Owens refused to fund cost-of-living increases for most county employees.

The county executive's feelings, expressed in a letter sent Tuesday to school officials, surprised Superintendent Eric J. Smith and teachers union officials, who said they believed Owens supported the proposal.

"The letter was a shock," Smith said yesterday. "I had had conversations with the county executive prior to this action and thought there was clear understanding of what we were doing and why."

In the letter, Owens wrote that it was "not fiscally wise" for the school board to give the $2 million in raises using school funds left over at the end of the fiscal year that ended in June.

She said the raises would increase the schools' overall budget and create a long-term strain on county finances.

Sun staff writer Ryan Davis contributed to this article.

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