Teachers Protest Proposed BCPS Budget, "So Our Students Can Have The Best Opportunities For Success"
BALTIMORE COUNTY - On Tuesday, thousands of Baltimore County public school teachers wore red to protest Superintendent Darryl L. William’s proposed budget for the 2023-2024 school year. The “Red for Ed” petition is asking for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) to be included in the budget.
The Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO) has been leading the charge for cost of living adjustments. TABCO president, Cindy Sexton, says Baltimore County needs to raise teacher salaries to remain competitive with other school systems in Maryland.
“While BCPS has made strides in increasing salaries, we still rank 9th in the state in career earnings. What we need as a step in the right direction is the salary scale compression that we won with BCPS last school year. That is our budget priority — a historic restructuring of our salary scale — so Baltimore County can compete with the other school systems in Maryland — so our students can have the best opportunities for success,” Sexton said.
The proposed budget currently includes step increases in teacher salary but does not include a cost of living adjustment to help teachers deal with rising inflation.
According to Sexton, the step increases would not help veteran educators, who have already reached the maximum salary for public school teachers.
TABCO representatives are advocating for a $60,000 mandated starting salary and step increases that would allow teachers to achieve higher pay in less time. The Baltimore Sun reports that these items were agreed upon in a contract with teachers back in August but are not included in the proposed budget.
Controversially, the proposed budget includes cuts to the total number of teachers in the county. According to BCPS Spokesperson Charles Herndon, the proposed budget would eliminate 162 teacher positions, including 132.6 vacancies for full-time classroom teachers and 29.7 openings for resource teachers.
Herndon said the cuts are intended to bring spending more in line with current enrollment projections for next year. According to the budget proposal, 111,083 students are enrolled in Baltimore County Public Schools. That number is expected to increase by 995 in fiscal year 2024.
“Our students — indeed the very future of all of us — are the priority. We must take care of them and do all we can to prepare them for whatever future they choose. That starts by making sure they have the educators they need. Please fund our salary compression,” Sexton added.
A final vote on the budget proposal is scheduled for the School Board’s meeting on February 28.