Baltimore County teachers have ratified a contract that contains a 1% pay raise, which is far less than what teachers originally expected to get.
Before COVID-19 came along, wrecking the economy and cratering tax revenues, teachers were expecting an average pay raise of more than 4%.
Voting on the contract ended Thursday and the results were announced Friday.
Cindy Sexton, the president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said 78.4% of teachers voted to ratify the contract with the 1% raise. In years past those votes have typically been more like 90% or more in favor.
Sexton said those opposed to it were unhappy that annual step increases for teachers were frozen this year.
“Those are people specifically that we could then target and say look, you didn’t like what happened. Neither did we," she said. "This is how all 8,400 of us work together to get it changed next year.”
While it’s a three year contract, pay is renegotiated each year.
Employees across county government, from teachers to firefighters have seen pay raises reduced or deferred this year.
On Tuesday, the Baltimore County Board of Education passed a budget that reflected the 1% pay bump for teachers. The board had to cut $20 million from the budget because the county council had reduced its spending request by that amount.
While all members of the school board voted for the budget, several of them, including Lisa Mack, were not happy about the reduction in the teachers’ raise.
“To me the most important person in the school house is our teachers," Mack said. "We already have a retention problem.”