Since the recent article in the Capital, TAAAC has received a few emails and calls regarding the vote taken last Tuesday evening on a fourth quarter transfer requested by the Board of Education from the County Council. Members who fear that the unfavorable outcome will negate the work done at the bargaining team may set their concerns aside. The salary increase and the mid-year step are both still intact.
At the end of May, the Council adopted a budget that included a $1,004,580 allocation to the Board’s operating budget. That money goes to the Board in fourteen major funding categories. The Board may move and spend money at its discretion within each category but may not transfer money from one category to another without County Council approval. The $1,004,580 allocation in its entirety is still in the hands of the Board. Approval or rejection of the transfer request had no impact on the bottom line and no impact on the maintenance of effort (MOE) obligation. These transfer requests occur every year, and for decades they’ve been approved by rote or left to sit for thirty days at the end of which they presumed approved.
Last year we had a County Executive (Leopold) who took issue with these transfers. Last week, we had a Council Chair (Walker) take issue. The requested transfer would have reduced the allocation in three categories (the biggest chunk from Materials of Instruction), and re-allocated to the categories necessary fund the 1% salary increase that is already in your paychecks. Unless the situation changes, the rejection will make it more difficult for the Board to fund the negotiated increase. However, the Board is obligated to fund it. Even if they weren’t, I believe the majority of the Board members want to fund it. In any event, they have little choice. Their budget was reconciled and our contract was ratified with full knowledge of what the County’s budget provided. The time for the “renegotiations” as provided in public school bargaining law has passed.
The Council did not save a nickel in tax payer dollars. A couple thought they averted having to provide the much needed enhancement in teacher salaries. Well-intended, one thought the reduction in materials would require teachers to buy more out of personal funds thereby losing any salary increase gained. I think one just enjoyed imposing his will on the Board.The rejection just made it more painful for the Board to do what it is obligated to do. TAAAC leadership is working with some friendly members of the Council to help repair the damage caused by the short-sighted rejection. Result of that effort notwithstanding, we will get what we bargained.