LEONARDTOWN, Md. (June 20, 2011)—On June 11, St. Mary's County Public Schools reached an agreement with both the Education Association of St. Mary's County (EASMC) and the Collective Education Association of St. Mary's County (CEASMC). The teams have been working since the fall of 2010 to develop agreements that minimize the impact on dedicated staff in light of the current economic environment, according to a press release issued by the school system.
"I recognize the value of our staff and the importance of their work to our students," said Dr. Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of schools, in a statement. "I thank them for working with the Board of Education through these trying budgetary times. Working together, we have minimized the number of staff losing their jobs. In this economy, that is an important factor."
Under the agreements, there will be no cost-of-living allowance or merit step increase for staff during the 2011-2012 school year and all employees will be furloughed three days. These days will be scheduled directly before or after an existing SMCPS holiday or break. The agreements also include some enhancements in work conditions and several joint study committee topics for future consideration. Topics include extra pay for extra duty/stipends and performance assessments.
"While I was pleased with the collegial nature of the negotiations process, I remain disappointed that the school system budget is balanced on the backs of our hard working and effective employees," said Ms. Wanda Twigg, president of EASMC, in a statement. "We should not be in this position in such a wealthy county."
CEASMC President Joe Shade said in a statement, "I am discouraged about the fiscal impact on employees, but I am pleased that there are no changes to healthcare, which is particularly essential to many of our support professionals whose physically demanding jobs take a toll on them after 30 or more years of dedicated service."