TAAAC’s Bargaining Team met with the Board’s team on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. This was our fourth meeting in what we were hopeful would result in agreements around language. Our hopefulness in reaching an agreement was fueled by the County Executive’s funding of the 4% COLA and step increase for our bargaining unit as well as 400+ new positions. Additionally, we know that there are significant federal funds (ARP funds) available to the school system to pay increased stipends for summer recovery programs, after-school tutoring, and substitutes – all of which are outlined in the Board’s plan submitted to the State.
All of this should have been an indication that negotiations would be quick and easy. However, the Board clearly believes that Unit 1 educators should simply accept the funded salary increases and in turn, accept an increase in the time assigned to non-professional duties and revert to providing class coverage for free. All of TAAAC’s proposals in this regard have been rejected with inadequate explanations. To top it all off, the Board’s team refuses to meet with your bargaining team in person to defend its position and negotiate a contract.
Despite these challenges, TAAAC’s Bargaining Team remains committed to maintaining compensation for class coverage, capping non-professional duties, including the 240 minutes of individual planning time already received, and securing a $20 differential for those participating in summer learning recovery programs and after school tutoring, for teachers, special educators, and related service providers. All of these improvements in working conditions are critical especially in Anne Arundel County, which now ranks number 10 in the State for career earnings of teachers. Notably, the surrounding counties rank significantly higher in career earnings: Howard County, which ranks number 2 after seeing a 9.9% one-year change in salaries; and Calvert County, which ranks number 3 in the State. On top of higher salaries, both counties enjoy more individual planning time than what is guaranteed in TAAAC’s current agreement.
At this point in the bargaining process, it is important and necessary that the Board hear directly from you – this is not just the priority of the seven colleagues of the bargaining team, but rather it is a priority of all the employees in Unit I. In the coming days, you will receive information asking that you reach out to your Board of Education member to impress upon the need to address working conditions in Anne Arundel County to make it a system that will attract qualified candidates to fill all of the newly funded positions and retain the hard-working educators…
We are confident that if we work together and use our collective voice, we will reach an agreement by June 30, 2022.
MSEA General Council