Harford Co. Board of Education approves budget that includes increased teacher salaries

Posted at 12:14 AM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 00:14:27-05
A lot of passionate teachers and parents came out Monday night in Harford County, as the Board of Education listened to more public comment on the yearly budget.
The main concerns are funding for teacher contracts and school programs like athletics and drama.
But the biggest things on many teachers' minds was when will the county become more competitive when it comes to instructor salaries.
"Our salaries have remained pretty much unchanged over the last eight years and we really can't afford to keep going at the rate were going," teacher Patricia Gasivwa said.
She's just one of hundreds of teachers in the county worried that they may have to leave the area they love.
"I love my job i want to say in Harford county it's my home, my community, i love my school
I love my children but at some point we just can't afford to stay at the level that we are," she said.
Teachers  say neighboring counties may have to be their next option.
"Having taught for two years in another county where if i had stayed in that county I'd be making $26,000 more per year than I'm making here in Harford County," Gasivwa said. 
And these teachers want Harford County education officials to make teacher salaries a priority.
"It's more than just about the money it's also about feeling appreciated and getting what we need in the classroom as well," teacher Tina Purtel saidl.
Plus, keeping good teachers is also a concern
"I personally would like to see the teachers' contracts honored so the budget fully funded so that we can  can continue to see some increases and see some retention for teachers throughout Harford County," Purtell said. 
Board members say the students and staff are main priorities as the budget is hashed out. 
"I think i can say for other board members but i am speaking for myself, that we are committed to improving the salaries of our employees," board member Joe Voskuhl said.
But a resolution will not happen overnight. 
"It's going to take a lot of work, I don't think it will be done in the next 2-3 meetings we have to wait on the budget from the county executive and then that's when the big work, the real work will begin," Voskuhl said.
The operating budget was approved, which includes a boost in funding for teacher salaries. 
The budget is just over $455 million dollars.   Now the budget goes to Harford County Executive Barry Glassman for funding.