The Board of Education approved a 1.25 percent mid-year pay increase for all teachers in Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) on Wednesday night.
The mid-year increase comes as part of an amendment to a tentative agreement between the Board of Education and the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC) for fiscal year 2013, which started on July 1.
Educators won’t begin receiving the increase until halfway through the year, so educators will only technically see a 0.62 percent increase during the current school year, AACPS spokesman Bob Mosier said.
All AACPS employees in "unit one"—a category that includes teachers and guidance counselors—will receive the 1.25 percent raise. "Those employees will also have a two-day reduction in their work year and a health-care premium “holiday” in December in which there will not be a health-care deduction," according to a press release from AACPS.
However, pay raises for administrators, custodial workers and secretaries are not included in the agreement. Teacher steps—incremental salary increases based on professional experience and performance—were not included either.
Mosier said the raises will be paid for using money in the existing school budget, with funds made available through savings, turnover and other reallocation of funds during the year.
The board passed the amendment 7-2, with only Amalie Brandenburg (District 33A and 33B) and at-large member Kevin Jackson voting against it. Both said they had difficulty agreeing with the amendment when other county employees couldn’t enjoy similar pay increases.
Oscar Davis, the AACPS director of employee negotiations, expressed his satisfaction following the board’s decision.
“We were able to come to a place that certainly is not what we believe our teachers deserve, but at least it says to them, ‘We care.’ That’s really the point,” Davis said.
Board Vice President Teresa Milio Birge (District 32) said if anything increases county teacher morale, she is committed to making it happen.
“If a 1.25 percent [mid-year pay increase] gives my teachers a sign of good faith effort and that we are doing everything we can to fund their raises that they have been promised, then that’s what I’m going to do,” she said.
Superintendent Kevin Maxwell said during the meeting that county enrollment has exceeded 78,000. Enrollment in the county is increasing faster than schools are able to hire new teachers.
TAAAC Vice President Richard Benfer felt that the mid-year increase is a step in the right direction to support teachers.
“We’re kind of in a hole. We’re crawling out, there’s a little light and we’re hoping with the next round that we’ll be more out in the daylight,” Benfer said.
Moving forward, TAAAC officials said they will seek to secure teacher steps for county educators as well as pay increases for other AACPS employees—including support staff, administrators and secretaries.
Just after the board passed the amendment, it unanimously approved Maxwell's proposed capital budget for fiscal year 2014.
Corrections: A previous version of this article misstated the tally of the board vote. The board approved the amendment by a vote of 7-2. Also, the article misspelled the last name of TAAAC Vice President Richard Benfer. Patch regrets the errors.