HCPSS Ratifies 2023-2024 Agreements with Employee Bargaining Units
April 13th, 2023
At its meeting on April 13, the Howard County Board of Education ratified its master agreements for the 2023-2024 school year with the Howard County Education Association (HCEA), its educational support professionals unit (HCEA-ESP), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1899.
In addition to Board of Education members, in attendance were Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano, HCEA President Colleen Morris and AFSCME Local 1899 President Robert Coleman.
The 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 considering the requirements for compensation contained in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future State legislation. The agreements also highlight HCPSS’ commitment to ensure that its employees’ compensation is above the state’s minimum wage.
“Our staff are continually performing at an exceptionally high level on behalf of the students and families of Howard County,” said HCPSS Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano. “I am grateful for the collaborative efforts of our negotiating teams to come to an agreement that demonstrates appreciation for our current staff while keeping an eye toward staff retention and recruitment.”
Among other changes, the new HCEA and AFSCME agreements provide:
- An increase in stipends for the HCEA certificated and non-certificated units, as well as modification of the sick and personal leave accruals for 10 and 11-month employees.
- Step and Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for members of all three bargaining units, including higher COLAs for the lower-paid hourly employees in these units.
“Our tremendous staff work so hard every day to tend to the needs of students so they may be able to thrive and realize success,” said Board of Education Chair Antonia Watts. “I appreciate the collaborative efforts of Dr. Martirano, Ms. Morris, Mr. Coleman, and the negotiating teams who came together with the common goal of taking care of the people who take care of our students.”
“We are grateful that HCEA and HCPSS were able to create an agreement that benefits all of our educators and continues to make Howard County Public Schools the destination of choice,” said Morris. “We believe this agreement aligns our shared goals of Blueprint, living wages, and personal well-being for all employees. We are looking forward to continued collaboration with the County as we move through the budget process.”
“We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone whose dedication and efforts have contributed to the finalization of the 2023-2024 salaries for our members that will ensure our members receive a sustainable living wage,” said Coleman. “More specifically, AFSCME would like to thank the HCPSS Board members, negotiating team members, and HCPSS chief negotiator Michael Carson for their collaborative efforts throughout the negotiation process.”