In response to the decision by AACPS to post special educator positions via outside contractors and refuse to bargain, Nicole Disney-Bates, president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, gave the following statement. She will also hold a press conference on Monday, August 15, at 4:30 p.m. at People’s Park in Annapolis.
We do not have an educator shortage; we have a shortage of people willing to be disrespected by their own school system. AACPS is spending huge sums of money to pay contractors more than their own dedicated employees who are invested in our communities, and dedicated to the students and families that they serve. Instead of increasing educator pay and addressing workload issues during contract negotiations, AACPS is hiring contractors in place of AACPS Special Educator’s and ESOL teachers for much higher salaries than certified teachers earn. These actions are shocking and represent an unprecedented attempt to undermine the integrity of the collective bargaining agreement between TAAAC and the Board of Education and dilute the quality of education across the county.
“As a Special Educator for the past decade in Anne Arundel County, I believe in the strength of AACPS Special Educators to meet the needs of our students and to help the students thrive.” Nicole Disney-Bates, TAAAC President. “The educator shortage is not the fault of the educators in our schools who are dedicated to the learning conditions of our students every day.”
It is TAAAC’s position that the school district’s actions are both illegal and violate its collective bargaining agreement with county educators. Maryland State statute is clear that only the Board of Education is empowered to hire, supervise, and manage teachers, not third-party contractors (§6 of the Education Article COMAR 13A.07.02). The Board’s brazen attempt to carve out an exception to the law and its contract with TAAAC by employing third-party contractors in classrooms is illegal, unethical, and unacceptable. We demand AACPS:
- Immediately halt this illegal hiring process;
- Invest more in the salaries of existing employees to support recruitment and retention effort; and
- Dedicate more time during the work day and school year for existing employees to complete their required work – educating our students and preparing the world-class learning environments they deserve.
TAAAC and AACPS are currently at the negotiating table for the FY23 contract. TAAAC has asked for arbitration before the Public School Labor Relations Board and has been granted a hearing on August 29, the first day of school, due to the fact that AACPS wants to add additional time for non-professional duties on the backs of already overburdened educators. TAAAC believes there are options outside a permanent and illegal change to our contract that could address these temporary staffing shortages.
We demand AACPS stop hiring contractors, and to provide good faith efforts to make the job more attractive for the people that are part of the communities and dedicated to the students and families they love.