Howard County Board of Education Member Vicky Cutroneo posted the following information on June 12th:

Budget and fall reopening work sessions added to next week’s virtual BOE schedule:

Tuesday, June 16, 4 & 5:30 p.m. –
-Fall Reopening Work Session,
-Virtual FY21 Operating & Capital Budget Budgets Work Session

Thursday, June 18, 4 p.m. –
-Virtual Adoption of FY21 Operating & Capital Budget & FY22-26 Capital Improvement Program

*Virtual meetings will be streamed live and may viewed on the HCPSS website, or on Comcast channel 95/Verizon 42.

These scheduled meetings have not been added the the HCPSS website as of this post:

Here is a timeline of events from my past post on this topic:

After seven budget work sessions between January 14th and February 11th the Board of Education made a recommendation to the county of a $50 million operating budget increase back on February 13th (an amount the board members knew they would never receive all of this budget cycle).

The County Executive submitted his budget proposal of $13.1 million in operating funds for the school system back on April 20th.

The County Council had numerous work sessions before deciding on the final budget adoptions on May 27th.

The Board of Education has held three work sessions on the adoption of the budget to date:

  • Virtual Board of Education Budget Work Session I – Jun 09, 2020 (53m 27s)
  • Virtual Board of Education Budget Work Session II – Jun 09, 2020 (57m 16s)
  • Virtual Board of Education Budget Work Session III – Jun 10, 2020 (01h 12m)

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The Baltimore Sun is reporting “No layoffs, no pay raises: Howard school board, teachers’ union come to tentative agreement amid budget concerns“. So we know things are happening and being decided outside of the public view on the budget for FY2021.

The HCEA has not posted the “email sent by the Howard County Education Association to its members” noted in the Baltimore Sun article on their social media channels or their website.

Article Update: I was sent the text of the email sent out by the HCEA to its members:

Dear

Yesterday we shared that the HCPSS agreed to enter “Further Negotiations” without triggering the statute that would strip us of our right to arbitrate the decision.

Although Instructional Salaries in Category 3 was fully funded by the County Council and the County Executive, it became clear to use that there were several other categories in the HCPSS budget that were either funded at the exact same level as last year or underfunded based on the BOE request. Total new revenue that HCPSS received (despite what may have been reported in the newspaper) was $21m from all sources, local, state, and federal. This leads to the inability to honor the cost of our employee negotiated ($24 m) without incurring a Reduction in Force (layoffs).

Your priorities and our priorities have always been to protect jobs and protect the integrity of our scale. Since Monday, the joint HCEA/HCEA-ESP negotiations team reconvened and met with the BOE team daily until we reached a tentative agreement. The tentative agreement aligns with the results of the bargaining survey that almost 3,000 members took part in. This agreement was approved by the HCEA Board of Directors last night in an emergency meeting.

In order to protect jobs ,this package is half of the cost of the original agreements for FY21. No one is happy we are in this position again, but we need you to vote on the tentative agreement.

The details of the agreement are as follows:

1 step on the current FY19-20 scale for all employees eligible for a step
No Reduction in Force (RIFS) or layoffs of HCEA or HCEA-ESP bargaining unit members in FY20-21.
In resolving the agreement, we also discussed the last day for staff that so many of you have contacted us about. We agreed to:

1 less workday for all 10/11-month staff in FY 20 and 1 additional annual leave day for 12-month employees next year. Importantly one less workday and one additional annual day was not traded for compensation but was an offer we accepted by the BOE team after an agreement on compensation and RIFS was already reached.
This change requires a full member ratification. You will be receiving a voting link from Howard County Education Association- invitations@gmail.electionbuddy.com. This link will be sent out by 5:00pm today. If you do not see it, check your spam. Voting ends on Thursday, June 18th at 3:00 p.m.

Looking Forward

It should be clear to all elected officials in Howard County that HCPSS will continue to be forced to sacrifice priorities until we are sufficiently funded. As enrollment continues to rise and student needs increase, employees need to be a priority in the HCPSS budget. We cannot do our best for students while suffering position losses, threats to our contract, and dwindling resources. We are creating a plan going into next year to fight for the schools our students and staff deserve. We are just as essential as fire and police whose contracts were fully funded. Stay tuned for details, your activism makes a difference!

In solidarity,

The Negotiations Team

Alison Daniels (PVMS), Teri Dennison (CO), Sharon Gregory (BBES), Doug Lea (SES/DRES), Josh Lenes (MSEA UniServ), Dawn Pipkin (MSEA UniServ), Colleen Morris (HCEA) & Mary Stein (LKMS).

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The Board of Education has spent just over three hours in three public sessions on the final budget adoption with one scheduled work session remaining before the budget adoption. Does this feel like enough time to work through everything in the eye of the public? Looking back at the meeting schedules in 2019 the Board seemed to spend a lot more time on the budget adoption for FY2020 in public sessions.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Scott E

2 COMMENTS

  1. Another leave day? For we subs, I guess that’s great. But as a HoCo resident and taxpayer, I wonder. Maybe I am missing something, but isn’t there already a sub shortage? Where is the coverage for the inevitable increased number of daily vacancies going to come from? Just asking.

    • UDATE: It has been pointed out to me that the proposed added leave day beyond this school year is for 12-mos. HCEA-covered employees, which most teachers are not. Cool. Still, a good number of HCPSS sub/temp folks are actually approached to cover 12-mos. admin., etc. vacancies as well. But also, (and I am not anti-union having been in two unions myself in my career) I know that once leave is negotiated for any segment of any union contract, it rarely gets rolled back, rather usually expanded. Not a great precedent I believe.

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