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School salaries would rise in Anne Arundel Co. budget proposal amid vacancies

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Posted at 10:00 PM, May 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 23:16:11-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Under a budget proposal for the upcoming year, school employees in Anne Arundel County could see a noteworthy bump in pay.

Weeks ahead of a budget vote in the county, unions touted the proposal in Annapolis Tuesday.

One union leader tells WMAR it can help keep the teachers they have - and get more in the doors.

"We’re hoping this is a path forward, to allow teachers to come to Anne Arundel County and to stay in Anne Arundel County," said Nicole Disney-Bates, president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County.

Disney-Bates says the district has faced about 200 teacher vacancies since September. The solution Disney-Bates advocates in her district of 83,000 students - a six percent cost of living adjustment, plus a step increase.

"In order to A) start meeting the requirement of Blueprint, the Maryland education law that’s coming into play, and also to allow educator salaries to go up, and to provide extra salary for the rest of our unions - the cost of living is going to go up," Disney-Bates continued.

Disney-Bates notes there would be an increase in property taxes - the budget proposal calls for a roughly five cent-per-$100 uptick, resulting in $68 million in annual recurring revenue.

"I can understand people don’t like their taxes raised, but I also know this county is one of the lowest-paid counties for teachers," said Disney-Bates. "The time is now."

The teachers' union and the district OK’d a new contract last week.

According to County Executive Steuart Pittman, the county's budget fully funds the school board's request for compensation.

"It's a 76.4 million increase over this year, with an 8% pay increase for all units," Pittman said in a budget address earlier this month. "We hope to see it distributed as an 8% COLA to all employees so that veteran staff are also rewarded, but it could also be negotiated as a traditional 6% COLA and 2% step."

READ MORE: Board of Education of Anne Arundel County adopts $1.68 billion operating budget

"This is the biggest raise they’ve had in a long time, and this would actually bump them up to more of a livable wage, if they were to pass this budget," said Delonya Akindoyo, president of AFSCME Local 1693, which represents workers like custodians, bus drivers and food service.

This is all pending final budget approval for the whole county, by the seven-member Anne Arundel County Council. The final vote on the budget is in the middle of June.