Apparently, the anger among Baltimore County Public School teachers towards the loss of step increases wasn’t that widespread.
The teachers voted to accept the new contract worked out between Baltimore County Public Schools and the Teacher’s Association of Baltimore County (TABCO) by a margin off 77 percent in favor, and 22 percent opposed.
Some teachers had expressed displeasure during the voting period (June 19-25) over losing pay “step increases” and getting a 1 percent cost of living raise (COLA) in its place.
“Step increases” are a salary scale in which teachers are paid more each year, based on their degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorates).
As TABCO saw it, 1 percent was better than nothing, which the teachers could have ended up with.
TABCO told the teachers the Baltimore County Council provided the same exact budget as last year (the bare minimum the law allows).
According to TABCO in its presentation of the proposed contract to its members, the county council was pushing Baltimore County Public Schools to have no raises, but TABCO fought for the 1 percent COLA.
“Baltimore County Police and Fire get no raises until June 30, 2021, the document read. “Our raise takes effect July 1 2020.”
“COLA’s are better for career earnings then step increases.”
Depending on seniority and degree, some teacher may have already reached the end of their step increases.
Teachers with a Bachelor of Arts degree top out after 10 years; teachers with doctorates get their last step increase on their 30th year.
Other key points of the contract:
Teachers can opt to have their salary spread over 12 months, instead of the current 10 months, if they chose. That option will be available in two years.
No furloughs or layoffs in 2020-21;
A new category of ‘assault leave’ for educators who are assaulted on the job. They will receive full pay, and not charged sick leave;
Additionally, teachers injured on the job will receive full pay for up to 12 months, without being charged sick leave. Teachers injured on the job and out for more than 12 months will be on a leave of absence receiving worker’s compensation;
Teachers cannot be called upon to search for weapons, hazardous materials or the source of a suspected fire;
Mandatory meetings to discuss significant disturbances in school, to identify causes, and steps to prevent future recurrences;
If teachers are threatened, witness violence, ot see students arrested, administrators will meet with them to determine if they need mental health support;
Total ban on workplace bullying;
Teachers may participate in union activity without retaliation.
Voting began on Friday and will end on Thursday.
If teachers reject the proposed contract, an “impasse” could be declared which would result in a new contract worked out by a third party.