ABINGDON, Md. (WJZ) — Harford County is doing what they can to keep their staff happy and serving students as they announce salary increases and bonuses for bus drivers and other support staff.

Harford County teachers are not seeing raises, but the lowest-paid para professionals, tech specialists and others are getting raises this year and next.

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Chrystie Crawford-Smick, President for Harford County Education Association said they will advocate for some alleviation to teacher workload and more half days in the school calendar, but overall they feel it is a win for some of the staff who have deserved more pay for some time. She said, “these folks in many cases to make poverty wages so it’s a way for these folks and an opportunity for us to bring them up and give them closer to the salaries they deserve.”

Dr. Sean Bulson, Superintendent Harford County Public Schools broke down the 8% market increase for drivers, cafeteria workers and support staff, saying some positions will also see a 6% raise next summer which was already negtiatied for but the contract agreement is being accelerated. Bulson said, “ these agreements are a step forward as an effort to retain and attract employees for critical services to our students

Barry Glassman, Harford County Executive said, “I am pleased to announce a $2000 retention payment for all school bus drivers bus attendants and cafeteria workers,” which totals $2.3 Million. The county is paying for that with federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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Baltimore County just announced an additional day off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Cindy Sexton, President of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County said, “this year is so trying for educators and for students.”

Baltimore City announced longer breaks for holidays, more half days and more professional development days to help with teacher burnout. Diamonte Brown, President of the Baltimore Teachers Union said, “a lot of the burn out is a result of additional tasks that staff members are expected to take on.”

Howard and Anne Arundel counties have added half days or early dismissal days for the remainder of their school year and Carroll County is not taking on any new initiatives as they want educators to focus on the students and the tasks they already have.

Additional days off for students and staff need to  be made up at the end of the year, half days do not.

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Rachael Cardin