Montgomery County Teachers & Administrators Forego 5% Pay Raise to Help Balance the Budget

Daniel de Vise & Ann Marimow:

Montgomery County teachers and other school employees have agreed to give up a 5 percent pay raise next year, a concession that saves the school system $89 million and allows Superintendent Jerry D. Weast to balance the budget.
The Montgomery County Board of Education, meeting in closed session last night, tentatively accepted the renegotiated labor deals, according to a school official.
Leaders of four employee associations, representing more than 22,000 workers, agreed Tuesday to forgo the raise all workers would have received in the fiscal year that begins in July. Weast said he and other top administrators in Maryland’s largest school system would also lose annual raises.
School officials said it was the first time since the early 1990s that Montgomery school employees had given up a contractual pay raise, a sign of the magnitude of the economic challenge. School board President Nancy Navarro (Northeastern County) credited unions with “tremendous sacrifice during these tough times.”
Budget constraints have prompted Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to consider requiring unpaid furloughs for more than 67,000 state employees and contractors. And across the region, school officials are wondering whether they can fund cost-of-living raises in the 2009-10 academic year. Loudoun County teachers were forced to go without such raises this school year.