3 Minutes February 11, 2020

Good evening, Chair Causey, Vice Chair Henn, Superintendent Williams, and Members of the Board:

As you are acutely aware, there never seems to be a downtime during the school year. And the budget review and approval period is especially frantic. CASE appreciates the time and energy the Board commits to this process.

This Board has consistently espoused equity across the system, and in that spirit, CASE respectfully requests the following budget considerations:

  • A One-time 2% stipend for CASE Employees
    • As you are aware there was a one-year delay of 2% COLA for FY20 for some BCPS employees. At the same time, the Social Security COLA increase for FY20 was 2.8% and is projected at 1.6% for FY21. (Based on Consumer Price Index) Clearly, CASE members have lost ground in their standard of living.
    • Members will never recoup this loss without this stipend.
  • A “Longevity Step” for employees who have reached the final step on our pay scale. There are valid reasons for this investment in experienced valued employees.
    • People are being promoted at a younger age than in years past, and consequently we are seeing members reaching the 20th step with significant years left in the system.
    • Currently there are 58 members at the 20th STEP. In 3 years, there will be 160 members (26%).
    • These dedicated folks who have spent a career in BCPS depend solely on COLA just to maintain their quality of life, which as I have indicated, hasn’t kept pace with the Consumer Price Index.

The cost of both these equity issues is less than 1/10 of 1% of the proposed budget. It is difficult to imagine this Board would not believe that these dedicated employees are not worth this investment.

In a January 24, 2020 article in The Baltimore Sun, Sean Naron, a spokesman for the County Executive, said the county is “on significantly stronger fiscal footing than we were a year ago.”

We didn’t get what we asked for a year ago, and now is the time for the School Board to ask for what is needed to fund a successful equitable school system.

Thank you,
Tom DeHart,
Executive Director, CASE