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HCPSS and HCEA Announce Tentative 2-Year Agreement

May 9th, 2018

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and Howard County Education Association (HCEA) announced today, May 9, 2018, that they have reached a tentative agreement for the 2018–2019 school year with limited openers for the 2019–2020 school year. HCEA represents certificated and ESP employees who serve the system in a non-supervisory role.

The tentative agreement reflects months of collaborative effort on the part of the negotiating teams to develop a contract that acknowledges the essential role of HCPSS staff, while respecting the fiscal pressures currently facing the school system.

“We have incredibly dedicated, hard-working and effective teachers and staff, and our students’ successes reflect their vital work,” noted Interim Superintendent Michael J. Martirano. “I am pleased that even during a challenging budget year, we were able to work together to provide additional compensation and supports for the staff who are directly responsible for caring for our children.”

Subject to ratification by the association membership, the contract provides for the equivalent of a half-step salary increase in the first year of the contract. Salaries and one additional article will be open for discussion for the second year. Current employee health benefits will be maintained through 2020, and an employee-driven benefits advisory committee will be established to make recommendations to ensure quality health care for all employees.

The contract also provides for additional support for teachers, including increased funding for professional development and a stipend for teachers participating in overnight student environmental camps. In addition, a joint committee will be created to develop new employee evaluation models that best reflect the work of educational support staff.

“HCEA believes that the Board understands the value that step and cola have to our educators, but given the fiscal constraints the system is under, it was impossible to achieve. We are happy that we are able to respect our employees by protecting the quality of our health care. We look forward to working collaboratively with our Board and elected officials to build a common understanding of what it takes to support a high quality school system,” said Colleen Morris, HCEA President.

“Our outstanding and committed employees are largely responsible for the success of our school system, and compensation plays a key role in being able to attract and retain qualified staff,” said Board of Education Chairman Cynthia Vaillancourt. “I commend Dr. Martirano, Ms. Morris, and the HCPSS and HCEA representatives who have built a collaborative and positive relationship to make this agreement possible.”

The Board of Education will ratify and sign the agreement during an upcoming Board meeting.