School board asks delegates to strengthen pension system

October 15, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Board of Education is asking the Washington County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly to work to improve the state's pension system so the board can better attract and retain highly qualified teachers, Board President Edward Forrest said Wednesday.

The issue is one of three requests the Board of Education is asking the delegation to address during the next legislative session, which begins in January.

The Board of Education has sent a letter to the delegation listing the three legislative priorities.

The bodies are tentatively scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 30 at the board's central office.

The legislative priorities came out of separate discussions at board meetings from throughout the school year, Forrest said.

The board is asking the delegation to work to strengthen the pension system to make it competitive with the best school systems in the nation, the letter said. Teachers are leaving Washington County Public Schools for school systems in other states because they offer better retirement systems, the letter said.


The Board of Education also is asking the delegation to help with a change in legislation that affects teachers who retire but are later rehired by the same school system, Forrest said.

A law regarding the rehiring of retired educators to fill school vacancies lapsed on June 30, 2004. Without the law, teachers rehired by the same system from which they retired face financial consequences. A law should be in place encouraging teachers to return to the school system from which they retired if that is their desire, the letter said.

The board's third request is for state legislators to reconsider the mandated timeline for information it must submit annually.

A senate bill requires Maryland school systems to submit the 2004 Update Bridge to Excellence Master Plan on Aug. 15, which is the same date school systems currently submit their Master Plan.

It will be hard to collect and prepare the two massive documents during the required timeline because, among other reasons, state standardized test results do not come in until August or September, Deputy Superintendent Patricia Abernethy said.

The Master Plan is a strategic five-year plan developed with community input and submitted to the state annually.

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