I try to reserve this distribution list for only negotiations updates. In reality, budget updates are at least as important. There are very few topics on the negotiations table that don’t have price tags. Salaries, extra-instructional and extra-curricular pay, planning time, healthcare, workload relief, any type of leave, paid or unpaid; all come at a cost. So, please bear with me while I bring some brief budget news, some good, some troubling.
The budget action taken by Maryland’s House of Delegates restored most of the $144M cut to education contained in Governor Hogan’s budget. Within that $144M was a cut to the Anne Arundel County Schools of $9,583,522, a sizable chunk of money to an already cash-strapped school system in a revenue capped county. The House action was very good news. It restored $8,960,542 (or more than 93%) of the pending reduction, critical to funding anything negotiated.
Some credit needs to go to the MSEA Government Relations office, and to our own TAAAC Government Relations Committee and its volunteer lobbyists that have been meeting with legislators virtually every Monday evening since January.
Things are a little different in Anne Arundel County. County Executive Steve Schuh has held two of the three planned Town Hall Meetings, showcasing his five point plan. Toward a goal to Make Anne Arundel the best place to live, work, and start a business, the plan is intended to:
- Reduce taxes and fees to create jobs.
- Improve the quality of education by accelerating school construction.
- Enhance public safety by increasing staff.
- Reform all county government departments.
- Create a cleaner environment and healthier waterways by repairing failing storm pipes and other infrastructure.
Conspicuous in its absence is the recruitment and retention of high quality teaching staff to fill those efficiently constructed schools. TAAAC members have been participating in postcard and email drives to encourage Mr. Schuh to fund the school budget, a necessary component to his five-point plan and his ultimate goal. If the competitive postion of AACPS continues to diminish, the teachers who fill those new schools might only be those unemployable elswhere. The email campaign alone has generated hundreds of emails to the County Executive and Council.
Readers who have not yet reached out to encourage Mr. Schuh to do the right thing for public local education should take the time to do so now. Here is the LINK.
Thank you to all who are participating. Councilman Walker commented publicly and positively last night on the number of messages he’s been getting from teachers advocating for their interests.
JOIN THE PICKET LINE
Let’s give the five-point plan a sixth point at the third and final Town Hall meeting:
Thursday, March 26th
North County High School
10 First Street
Pickets 6:15PM to 7:00PM
Feel free to bring friends, colleagues, and family.
(Plan on arriving at 6:00)