The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and the Howard County Education Association certificated unit (HCEA) and its educational support professionals unit (HCEA-ESP) have reached 2-year agreements covering the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. The agreements will go into effect on July 1, 2019.

Both agreements include revised salary scales, reflecting the shared goals of both organizations to increase teacher salaries and compensate hourly employees at or above the living wage. New scales provide for increases for certificated employees that will increase entry level salaries for 10-month teachers to $48,519 in 2019-20 and $50,000 in 2020-21. Additional modifications to the scale will allow teachers to increase their lifetime earnings. In addition, employees of long tenure whose salaries exceed the top step in the scale will realize an increase in their earnings in each year of the agreement.

Similarly, employees governed by the ESP agreement will see wage increases during both years of the agreement, and ESP scales have been realigned to ensure that entry-level wages meet the living wage for a single person in Howard County.

Other provisions of the agreements include a streamlined process for employees seeking voluntary transfers, which will implemented in spring 2020. The new process will provide an opportunity for employees to meet with administrators for face-to-face interviews during specific job fairs. Funding for the negotiated agreements is included the superintendent’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal, which Superintendent Michael Martirano presented to the board on Dec. 18.