The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and the Howard County Education Association certificated unit (HCEA) and its educational support professionals unit (HCEA-ESP) announced yesterday, December 20, 2018, that they have reached 2-year agreements covering the 2019–2020 and 2020-2021 school years. The agreements will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
“Our excellent educators and staff are the strength of our great system,” said Superintendent Michael J. Martirano. “In order to take care of 58,000 children we must take care of our staff who take care of them. I am pleased that we were able to collaborate in providing additional compensation and supports for the talented and dedicated individuals whom we entrust with our students’ education and care.”
Funding for the negotiated agreements is included the Superintendent’s FY 2020 budget proposal, which Martirano presented to the Board on December 18. Both agreements include revised salary scales, reflecting the shared goals of both organizations to increase teacher salaries and compensate hourly employees at or above the living wage. New scales provide for increases for certificated employees that will increase entry level salaries for 10-month teachers to $48,519 in 2019-2020 and $50,000 in 2020-2021. Additional modifications to the scale will allow teachers to increase their lifetime earnings. In addition, employees of long tenure whose salaries exceed the top step in the scale will realize an increase in their earnings in each year of the agreement.
Similarly, employees governed by the ESP agreement will see wage increases during both years of the agreement, and ESP scales have been realigned to ensure that entry-level wages meet the living wage for a single person in Howard County.
Other provisions of the agreements include a streamlined process for employees seeking voluntary transfers, which will implemented in spring 2020. The new process will provide an opportunity for employees to meet with administrators for face-to-face interviews during specific job fairs.
HCEA President Colleen Morris noted, “ For the first time HCEA had a joint ESP and Certificated Team. The HCEA team and the Board of Education team worked tirelessly with an atmosphere of respect and collaboration. The vision HCEA shares with the Board of Education and newly elected County Executive can be seen throughout the improvements in this agreement. We look forward to sharing all the details through the ratification process.”
“Our outstanding educators are fundamental to our students’ success, and I am pleased that we can provide compensation that reflects their vital roles,” said Board of Education Vice Chair Kirsten Coombs. “ This was a true collaboration among all parties in the negotiation process.” The Board of Education will ratify and sign the agreement during an upcoming Board meeting.