Cumberland Times-News

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March 30, 2013

Commission disputes teacher salary raises

CUMBERLAND — Allegany County commissioners didn’t like when they saw that possible teacher salary increases were included in the proposed budget the board of education submitted for their consideration.

The proposed fiscal year 2014 budget was presented to commissioners by board members on Thursday at a budget hearing at commission offices on Kelly Road.

The budget would be about 2.5 percent higher than last year’s request, excluding pension payments resulting from last year’s shift of pension costs to the counties, school officials said.

Commission President Michael McKay asked about the possible salary increases.

Allegany County Superintendent of Schools David Cox said the school system is entering into negotiations with four separate bargaining units, including teachers and other employees.

“This budget allows us to negotiate,” Cox said.

Cox pointed out that the overall payroll in the school system has continued to decrease.

The school system is down 130 positions since 2009, Cox said, all through attrition.

Teachers have already given up an increase to which they were contractually entitled, said Laurie Marchini, school board vice president.

“Our teachers were going to get a 2 percent increase two years ago ... it’s premature to say there is or isn’t going to be a salary increase,” Marchini said.

McKay said other organizations have held the line on salary and expenses.

School board member Edward Root said many teachers were not eligible for the increases included in the budget. There was no blanket salary increase, Root said.

McKay said no matter what kind of increase it was, it was a salary increase.

“I don’t know that that’s accurate, it’s a mischaracterization,” said board member Michael Llewellyn.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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