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Board Approves 1.25% Teacher Pay Increase

Teacher association officials said they were "satisfied" by the school board's decision, but said there is still much to do.

The Board of Education approved a 1.25 percent mid-year pay increase for all teachers in Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) on Wednesday night.

The mid-year increase comes as part of an amendment to a tentative agreement between the Board of Education and the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC) for fiscal year 2013, which started on July 1.

Educators won’t begin receiving the increase until halfway through the year, so educators will only technically see a 0.62 percent increase during the current school year, AACPS spokesman Bob Mosier said. 

All AACPS employees in "unit one"—a category that includes teachers and guidance counselors—will receive the 1.25 percent raise. "Those employees will also have a two-day reduction in their work year and a health-care premium “holiday” in December in which there will not be a health-care deduction," according to a press release from AACPS.

However, pay raises for administrators, custodial workers and secretaries are not included in the agreement. Teacher steps—incremental salary increases based on professional experience and performance—were not included either.

Mosier said the raises will be paid for using money in the existing school budget, with funds made available through savings, turnover and other reallocation of funds during the year. 

The board passed the amendment 7-2, with only Amalie Brandenburg (District 33A and 33B) and at-large member Kevin Jackson voting against it. Both said they had difficulty agreeing with the amendment when other county employees couldn’t enjoy similar pay increases.

Oscar Davis, the AACPS director of employee negotiations, expressed his satisfaction following the board’s decision.

“We were able to come to a place that certainly is not what we believe our teachers deserve, but at least it says to them, ‘We care.’ That’s really the point,” Davis said.

Board Vice President Teresa Milio Birge (District 32) said if anything increases county teacher morale, she is committed to making it happen.

“If a 1.25 percent [mid-year pay increase] gives my teachers a sign of good faith effort and that we are doing everything we can to fund their raises that they have been promised, then that’s what I’m going to do,” she said.

Superintendent Kevin Maxwell said during the meeting that county enrollment has exceeded 78,000. Enrollment in the county is increasing faster than schools are able to hire new teachers.

TAAAC Vice President Richard Benfer felt that the mid-year increase is a step in the right direction to support teachers.

“We’re kind of in a hole. We’re crawling out, there’s a little light and we’re hoping with the next round that we’ll be more out in the daylight,” Benfer said.

Moving forward, TAAAC officials said they will seek to secure teacher steps for county educators as well as pay increases for other AACPS employees—including support staff, administrators and secretaries.

Just after the board passed the amendment, it unanimously approved Maxwell's proposed capital budget for fiscal year 2014.  

Corrections: A previous version of this article misstated the tally of the board vote. The board approved the amendment by a vote of 7-2. Also, the article misspelled the last name of TAAAC Vice President Richard Benfer. Patch regrets the errors.

Addie Conte September 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM
I think Kevin Jackson and Amalie Brandonburg were making a statement, knowing the amendment would pass either way. I know from personal experience how personally involved they are. When I spoke at the board about some changes I would like to see at my kids' school, these two were at the school, visiting the very next day.
Amy Leahy September 22, 2012 at 01:57 AM
County employees had to take furlough days last year, school employees didn't. County employees didn't get pay raises….school employees will. This is a very big reason the school board should be elected like our county council and county executive….when these people who make the decisions have no "skin in the game" and no accountability, there is nothing to stop them from giving away YOUR money.
Carol B September 26, 2012 at 01:01 AM
County employees are not responsible for inspiring young minds with a thirst for knowledge--the ability to analyze and research and think for themselves--an appreciation for great literature and music--an understanding of our collective history--or comprehension of the sciences. Our students are falling far behind those of other countries because we pay our ballplayers and movie stars millions--but our teachers as little as we can get them to accept. I'm sorry that you begrudge them the 1.25% raise that doesn't even amount to coffee money--and seem to think that our children would have been well-served, had they been furloughed, too. And no: I do not teach in Anne Arundel County Schools, nor am I affiliated in any way with anyone who does. I don't even have children in the system. But I will say that of all of the things this administration has blown my money on and raised my taxes for, this is one of the few that doesn't bother me at all. In fact--I'm happy to pay it.
hawkeye September 27, 2012 at 02:47 PM
If I were a teacher i would be insulted by that meager a pay increase.
Hamilton Tyler October 15, 2012 at 01:43 PM
As a county employee who does not get a raise (and has had a 5% cut the two years prior to this one through furloughs), I strongly disagree with the comment above concerning teachers should get a raise because the are teachers. We all have our jobs to do. I go above and beyond in my job and that means great savings to the taxpayers of this county. Since I am not a teacher, does that mean the citizens don't value my efforts? The comment seems to imply that teachers are the most important of all jobs and therefore they deserve a raise when no one else does. That is just not the case.

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